When average Minnesotans can expect to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Minnesota health officials say members of the general public can expect to receive the COVID-19 vaccine sometime in this spring or early summer. 

As of Wednesday, more than 38,000 front line health care workers and long-term care residents in Minnesota have received the first of two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, Minnesota Department of Health Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said most Minnesotans will have to wait several more months before they can get the vaccine. 

"If you are like I see myself, an average Minnesotan—I don’t fall into any of the certain high-risk groups, I’m not in an essential service category—in my mind, I’m just thinking late spring and summer is when I can prepare to be vaccinated," Ehresmann said. "I think if people can think like that, that may help with the anticipation and the impatience." 

Timeline: When COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed in Minnesota

Minnesota health officials say they expect to begin administering the COVID-19 vaccine to people in the top priority group by the week of Dec. 21. 

Ehresmann and other state health officials provided an update on Minnesota’s COVID-19 situation and vaccine plan at a news conference on Wednesday morning, their first since before Christmas. 

How will people know when it’s their turn to get vaccinated?  

MDH is still working out the details of how they will notify people when vaccines are being administered to the general public. Health Commissioner says people will likely get alerts from their employers or local health care clinics. 

Malcolm said MDH will also likely rely on the media and community groups to get the word out about when, where and how people can get vaccinated. 

Why does Minnesota appear slower at vaccine distribution that other states?

Ehresmann could not explain why some states are able distribute the COVID-19 vaccine faster, but she said it is possible those states have fewer health care workers. She added that Minnesota is actually doing quite well with distribution. 

"Actually if you step back and think about it, vaccination is happening at an unprecedented pace," Ehresmann said. "As [Commissioner Malcolm] said, it was exactly one year ago today that our staff received the first notification of a cluster of unexplained pneumonia pieces in a province in China."

 While every would like more people to have received the COVID-19 vaccine by now, MDH says receiving, preparing and administering the vaccine takes time. 

"It’s not the same setup as when we have a large public flu vaccination clinic," Ehresmann said. "This is a new vaccine with new processes that have to be put in place."