https://pfundfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/hakan-nural-niBllet7sTw-unsplash-scaled.jpg 2560 1860 Aaron Zimmerman http://pfund.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/2016-logo-square-only-white-on-navy-300x300.png Aaron Zimmerman2021-03-11 18:48:392021-03-11 18:49:47Vaccine Eligibility Expansion
Vaccine Eligibility Expansion
- Minnesotans from every corner of our state have banded together with us in our ongoing efforts to protect Minnesotans at heightened risk for COVID-19. Until now, we have asked most Minnesotans to wait patiently for their vaccine dose while we provided shots to at least 70% of our seniors.
- This week, we will achieve that significant milestone – and we’ll do so well ahead of schedule. As a result, many more Minnesotans will now be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
- This expedited timeline is a result of the expansive, robust network of options we stood up to get shots to everyone across the state. From larger health systems to smaller local community health centers, our providers have worked tirelessly to make Minnesota a national leader in getting doses to people quickly.
- Because we have made such tremendous progress vaccinating Minnesotans over 65, and because the federal government continues to ship greater volumes of vaccine, we will now be able to provide more vaccine shots, to more people, much more quickly than ever before.
- This week, we will expand vaccine eligibility to new groups of Minnesotans. We are moving so quickly that we will now be adding TWO new phases to the eligibility list.
- Providers have been directed to prioritize vaccine appointments for people in the first of these phases. Minnesotans in the second of these phases should look for messages from the COVID-19 Vaccine Connector, their employer, or their medical provider to find out when they are able to get the vaccine.
- The first phase includes:
- People with specific underlying health conditions: Sickle cell disease, Down syndrome, those in cancer treatment or immunocompromised from organ transplant, oxygen-dependent chronic lung and heart conditions (COPD & CHF)
- Targeted essential workers: Food processing plant workers
- These groups will receive priority when scheduling appointments.
- The second phase includes:
- People 45+ with one or more underlying health conditions identified by the CDC
- People 16+ with two or more underlying health conditions
- People with rare conditions or disabilities that put them at higher risk of severe illness
- People 50+ in multi-generational housing
- Essential frontline workers: Agricultural, airport staff, additional child care workers not previously eligible, correctional settings, first responders, food production, food retail, food service, judicial system workers, manufacturing, public health workers, public transit, U.S. Postal Service workers.
- As we expand vaccine eligibility, we are following science, medical evidence, and federal guidelines.
- We continue to immunize for impact, giving shots to individuals with underlying medical conditions known to put them at risk of severe COVID-19 illness; or those whose workplaces put them at higher risk of contracting this virus.
Equity and Engagement Strategies
- Equity in access is a cornerstone of the Walz-Flanagan administration’s vaccination strategy and has been a guiding principle since the first doses arrived in Minnesota.
- As eligibility expands, we remain dedicated to ensuring the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is equitable and fair.
- Many of Minnesota’s BIPOC communities have disproportionately felt the effects of the pandemic. We are working every day to ensure that accurate, reliable information about the vaccine is available to Minnesotans across all of our focus communities.
- Here are a few examples of the equity-focused initiatives we have launched in response:
- COVID-19 Community Coordinators: The partnerships we’ve built with our expansive array of COVID-19 Community Coordinators (CCCs) empower the same community-based organizations many Minnesotans have made connections and built trust with for years to become beacons of accurate information about the vaccine. Additionally, our CCC’s work hand-in-hand every day within their communities to connect people with COVID-19-specific resources, like food and housing.
- Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC): A core component of our efforts to ensure every Minnesotan has equitable access to the vaccine is the work we do to support our Federally Qualified Health Centers. Our FQHCs are often centered right in the very communities our equity efforts are performing their outreach. To date, we are proud to share that we have provided 100% of the requested doses from each of our FQHCs.
- Moving forward, we will continue to honor our commitment to equity in vaccine access by increasing allocations to health centers, pharmacies, and community vaccination sites serving BIPOC and underinsured communities.
How to Get Vaccinated
- The easiest way for newly eligible Minnesotans to find out how to get their shot is by signing up for the COVID-19 Vaccine Connector: https://vaccineconnector.mn.gov.
- The Connector will alert users about their eligibility and opportunities to get shots near them, including potential selection for shots at the state’s Community Vaccination Program sites.
- But Minnesotans now eligible do not have to wait for information from the Minnesota COVID-19 Vaccine Connector before getting their shot:
- Connect with your primary health care provider;
- Use the Vaccine Locator map to find a vaccine appointment;
- If you are an essential frontline worker, some employers may be reaching out to you with information about vaccination opportunities.
- Minnesotans who were previously eligible to receive a vaccine are still eligible. Providers will continue to administer doses to health care workers, K-12 educators and child care providers, long-term care residents and Minnesotans age 65 years and over.
- Recent federal guidance directed retail pharmacies to provide vaccine to educators. Going forward, K-12 educators and child care workers should seek out appointments at retail pharmacies around Minnesota, including Walgreens, Walmart, Thrifty White, and Hy-Vee.
- We have made great strides vaccinating those populations: In addition to 70% of seniors getting vaccinated this week, nearly 60% of educators and child care workers have been vaccinated, and 71% of healthcare workers have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine.
Vaccine Safety & Efficacy
- We now have three vaccines available that are all proven to be safe and highly effective in preventing severe disease, hospitalization, and death.
- All three FDA-authorized vaccines have gone through rigorous medical review, met high scientific standards and underwent the largest scale clinical trials of any vaccine.
- Here’s the bottom line: We have to keep working together to build community protection before we can rein in COVID-19 and finally get back to the normal, enjoyable parts of life we all have missed. The only way to get there is by getting vaccinated.
- Get vaccinated with the first vaccine available to you as soon as possible.
- All vaccines will protect you, give you a level of immunity, and get us all one step closer to ending this pandemic.
- We are not out of the woods yet, and every Minnesotan must remain vigilant so we can continue building on the great, hard-earned progress we’ve made over the past month.
- Continue to social distance, wear a well-fitted mask, get tested, stay home if you’re sick, and wash your hands. The end is in sight, and we want to get everyone across the finish line together.
- We are moving forward ahead of schedule. Let’s keep this momentum going.