Near 80% Seniors Vaccinated in MN

Day 360: Stay Safe Minnesota

Almost 80% Minnesota seniors 65-year and older have received their COVID-19 vaccination as of Saturday March 20, 2021.

In the Star Tribune, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Jeremy Olson writes that as of Saturday March 20, Minnesota is has reached 78% vaccination of senior citizens, 65-year and older, with at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Earlier last month, Gov. Tim Walz had reportedly set a goal of vaccinating 80% of senior citizen before the return of of the snowbirds in the state.

Commending the patience and diligence of Minnesotans to seek vaccination opportunities this winter, Gov. Walz told reporters:

“I hope that this need and desire to get it continues at a high rate.”

Reacting to recent spikes in COVID infection numbers, the positivity rate of diagnostic testing, and hospitalizations, State infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann told reporters “more-infectious variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been linked to clusters of cases in the southwest metro, Mankato, and the East Range in northern Minnesota.”

Minnesota health officials anticipate that the ‘continued vaccination could slow growth of these variants — and the development of new ones — but health officials urged continued mask-wearing and social distancing to reduce chances for viral transmission’.

A Race Between the Variants and Vaccine

State health officials are warning Minnesotans that the highly contagious U.K. strain (known as B.1.1.7) which already taken a foothold in Minnesota with above 300 confirmed cases, has the potential to spread throughout the state. “Hot spots of new cases are bubbling in the southwest Twin Cities suburbs, in southern Minnesota around Mankato and in northern Minnesota on the eastern end of the Iron Range,” MPR News reports.

We are in a race between the variants and the vaccine, and the decisions we all make in the next few weeks will have a lot to say about the outcome of this race. We need to be cautious a little while longer.

Kris Ehresmann, the state’s infectious disease director (source: MPR News)

There has been reported progress in the vaccinations of Minnesota seniors 65-year and older, the state hasn’t yet vaccinated other adults to establish a herd immunity, and there’s a danger of another surge from the fast-spreading variants.

“Vaccine access continues to broaden, with the state adding another permanent vaccination site in St. Cloud and distributing more doses to pharmacies and clinics across Minnesota,” Olson writes in the Tribune.

COVID-19 Vaccination Watch

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID vaccination tracker page (as of Mar 22, 9 a.m.) 156,734,555 doses have been distributed and 126,509,736 doses administered. According MDH COVID-19 Response vaccine data (as of Mar 20) a total of 2,235,281 doses of Covid-19 (Pfizer & Moderna) vaccines have been administered in Minnesota. According to the MDH latest tally (as of Mar 22) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 506,376 (out of 7,968,369 tested) with 6,782 deaths.