Following the news this week that Minnesota was ranked number one in the country for the percentage of vaccine doses administered, on Friday Gov. Tim Walz announced that all Minnesotans 16 years of age and older will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccination beginning Tuesday, March 30.
The final eligibility expansion comes as the federal government has promised an increased supply of vaccine by April. By expanding eligibility to all Minnesotans, providers across the state will have the flexibility they need to fill appointments and support the state’s most critical goal: to get as many Minnesotans vaccinated as quickly as possible to end this pandemic.
Continuing to honor their commitment to immunizing for impact, the Walz-Flanagan Administration has directed providers to prioritize vaccine appointments for older Minnesotans, those with underlying health conditions, and those in frontline jobs. Providers will then have the flexibility to provide available appointments to other eligible Minnesotans.
“Minnesotans have done a remarkable job helping our most vulnerable get vaccinated and waiting their turn. Now, as we prepare to receive more vaccine heading into April, it’s time for all Minnesotans to get in line,” said Governor Walz. “Minnesota has been leading the nation in getting shots into arms, and we plan to continue that leadership. By expanding eligibility to all Minnesotans, we will give providers the flexibility they need to keep getting shots into arms quickly, efficiently, and equitably.”
Minnesota has become a national leader in getting shots into arms quickly, and to date, 80% of Minnesota’s seniors have been vaccinated.
“We are also prepared to double-down on our efforts to ensure that each and every Minnesotan has fair and equitable access to vaccinations and that no barrier is left standing between a Minnesotan and their shot,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “We are a national leader in delivering doses to providers serving our Black, Indigenous, and communities of color, and we are organizing on the ground – with labor unions, community groups, and others – to make sure people know where and how to get their shot. I encourage every Minnesotan to get their life-saving shot as soon as they can – for themselves, for their neighbors, and for ending this pandemic together.”
The state is committed to making sure every single community in Minnesota has fair access to these vaccines. With more doses arriving in Minnesota, the state is ramping up strategies to get more vaccines to Minnesota’s BIPOC communities and preparing to launch new, creative methods for delivering vaccine to communities who need them, including mobile vaccination units that will hit the road in the coming weeks. Minnesota was recently ranked in the top five states in the country when it comes to vaccinating socially vulnerable counties.
“Getting as many Minnesotans vaccinated as quickly as possible is how we will end this pandemic and get back to all the things we love and miss,” said Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm. “We have three safe, highly effective vaccines to get us to broad community protection and time is of the essence. We are in a race between the variants and the vaccine, and we must remain vigilant and work together so the vaccines win. You can do your part to help Minnesota win this race by getting vaccinated as soon as you have the opportunity.”
All Minnesotans who have not received a vaccine should sign up for the COVID-19 Vaccine Connector to get updates on vaccine opportunities and be entered into the random selection process for the state’s Community Vaccination Program sites. Minnesotans can also contact their healthcare provider, local pharmacy or use the Vaccine Locator Map to search for vaccine providers in their area.
While all Minnesotans will become eligible next Tuesday, not every Minnesotan will be immediately able to make an appointment. Vaccine shipments from the federal government will continue increasing over the coming weeks, but for now demand will still exceed supply.
With COVID-19 cases, positivity rates and hospitalizations rising and variants spreading, we are not out of the woods yet and we cannot let our guard down. The Walz-Flanagan Administration and public health officials urge Minnesotans to remain vigilant and continue following critical safety measures of social distancing, masking, washing hands, and getting tested when needed.
“We have already beat President Biden’s goal of expanding eligibility to all adults by May 1. Now, if all Minnesotans get in line and take the first shot available to them, we can get all Minnesotans first doses by the end of May,” continued Governor Walz. “We could then be in an incredibly different place by June and have a beautiful Minnesota summer to look forward to. Get ready to roll up your sleeves and let’s get it done, Minnesota.”