Minnesota COVID-19 vaccine rollout ranks 23rd in nation

Gov. Tim Walz acknowledged the slow vaccine rollout.

A shipment of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccines. (Pfizer/Facebook)

(The Center Square) – Almost a month into receiving COVID-19 vaccines, only 147,645 Minnesotans have received a shot — 37% of the nearly 400,000 doses allocated to the state.

That means the state’s providers have given first doses of the two-dose vaccine to 30% of the 500,000 health care workers and long-term care residents prioritized first in the vaccination schedule.

Almost 400,000 doses have been allocated to Minnesota registered provider sites, but that doesn’t mean all those doses are in the state or are currently available to providers.

Last week, Gov. Tim Walz acknowledged the slow vaccine rollout and cited logistics challenges and reporting delays as explanations.

“If you are thinking the pace is too slow, I’m right there with you,” Walz said Wednesday, adding that the state has been promised another 66,000 doses by Monday.

It’s unclear how long it will take to vaccinate the state’s 5.6 million people.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Minnesota ranks 23rd out of 50 for COVID-19 vaccinations administered per 100,000 people.

Minnesota Department of Health Information Officer Doug Schultz told The Center Square in an email that there’s a time lag in the state’s COVID-19 vaccination website’s numbers so the actual numbers will be higher than reported.

Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said Monday the state isn’t satisfied with the current vaccination rate but warned that vaccines can often take a week or more to ship.

Malcolm also said she expects the rate to increase since vaccinations started near the holidays. She also noted a blizzard hindered deliveries.

Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann said she’s encouraging health care partners to change vaccination schedules from a Monday-Friday schedule to seven days a week.

The plan to administer vaccines in Minnesota is as follows:

  • Phase 1a: Frontline health care workers and long-term care residents — is currently underway with roughly 249,000 people left.
  • Phase 1b: Frontline essential workers and adults 75 years and older.
  • Phase 1c: Adults ages 65-74, people aged 16-64 with high-risk medical conditions, and other essential workers.
  • Phase 2: When more doses are available, any remaining Phase 1 recipients left out will be vaccinated, plus adults in communities that have been hit hard by COVID-19. Officials don’t know when phase 2 will begin.
  • Phase 3: With a greater supply of vaccines, anyone who wants to be vaccinated can do so.