The State Expands Eligibility for COVID-19 Vaccines

Posted 3/17/21

According to Minnesota’s COVID-19 Vaccine Summary, just over 53,000 residents of Washington County are partially vaccinated. This data was last revised on March 11th. As the month progresses, this …

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The State Expands Eligibility for COVID-19 Vaccines


According to Minnesota’s COVID-19 Vaccine Summary, just over 53,000 residents of Washington County are partially vaccinated. This data was last revised on March 11th. As the month progresses, this number is bound to increase. Minnesota is now allowing additional priority groups access to one of three COVID-19 Vaccines. This acceleration in vaccine distribution is due to the efforts of 712 local providers. The state claims on their official website, “Minnesota’s vaccine progress is possible because of the strong and stable network of providers that have been mobilized. Health care systems, local pharmacies, federally qualified health centers, hospitals, local public health facilities, and state-run community vaccination sites have been activated to bring the vaccine to Minnesotans in every community across the state.”

Three COVID-19 Vaccine suppliers are located in Cottage Grove. Walgreens and HyVee on East Point Douglas Road are following their own hours of operation to facilitate indoor appointments. In addition, Walmart on East Point Douglas Road is exclusively providing shots to people aged 65 and older. One must call Walmart’s pharmacy to understand their hours and reserve a time slot.

Last December, two COVID-19 Vaccines were approved for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As limited supply of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine and the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine entered Washington County’s borders, an orderly approach at administering them was launched. The Minnesota Department of Health outlines two phases of vaccine distribution. Phase 1 consists of three parts: 1a, 1b, and 1c. Phase 1a suggests that healthcare personnel as well as long term care residents and employees be the first to gain protection from the coronavirus. 4,334 doses were administered in Washington County in December. Then, in January, 21,079 more doses were given.

February arrived. Minnesota widened eligibility to the priority groups under Phase 1b-Tier 1 while continuing to tend to people in Phase 1a. Minnesotans aged 65 years and older, educators, and child care employees became qualified for a COVID-19 shot. Washington County distributed 37,040 doses throughout those 28 days.

Now, Minnesota is focusing on vaccinating several more types of people. Increased citizens in Phase 1b are newly permitted to obtain The Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine, Pfizmay er-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, or Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine. The urgency to immunize Phase 1a and Phase 1b-Tier 1 priority groups remain. Minnesota specifies where their vaccination efforts have expanded to on their official website: ●“People with specific underlying health conditions ○Sickle cell disease, Down Syndrome, or oxygen-dependent chronic lung or heart conditions, and those who are in active cancer treatment or immunocompromised from organ transplant ●Targeted essential workers ○Food processing plants ●People with rare conditions or disabilities that put them a higher risk ●People age 45 and older with ONE or more underlying medical conditions; or, age 16 and over with TWO or more underlying medical conditions* ●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, Postal Service workers” After studying this list, it is possible that one may find themselves still ineligible for a COVID-19 Vaccine. They should not feel discouraged. The remainder of Phase 1b and Phase 1c will be tended to in May and June. Minnesota identifies those who will be able to grasp a COVID-19 Vaccine in around two months.

●“16+ with any underlying medical condition ●Age 50-64 (regardless of health condition) ●All other essential workforces Transportation and logistics, finance, housing/shelter construction, IT/communications, energy, media, legal, public safety, water, and wastewater” After the month of June, it is anticipated that the general public may acquire COVID-19 Vaccines. “By this summer, every Minnesotan who wants a shot will be able to get one!” the state’s official website exclaims.

With all of this information regarding COVID-19 vaccine distribution, it is vital to consider a couple of facts. First of all, at this moment, the teenagers referred to in Phase 1b only receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. A document assembled by the Minnesota Department of Health entitled, “Minnesota Guidance for Allocating and Prioritizing COVID-19 Vaccine – Phases 1b, 1c, 2” writes, “The Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for people age 16 years and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID-19 vaccines are authorized for people age 18 years and older.”

In addition, the phrase, “underlying medical conditions” is displayed frequently within The MDH’s COVID-19 Vaccine Phases. The state defines this concept on their website.

●“Active cancer ●Chronic kidney disease ●COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) ●Diabetes – Type 1 or 2 ●Down Syndrome ●Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies ●Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant, HIV, bone marrow disease, chronic steroids for more than 30 days, immunodeficiency disease, or taking immunosuppressive medications ●Obesity – body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 kg/m2 ●Pregnancy ●Sickle cell disease” No matter which priority group one unvaccinated Minnesotan lands in, they are deeply encouraged to respond to the Minnesota COVID-19 Vaccine Connector. “All Minnesotans who have not been vaccinated should sign up for the COVID-19 Vaccine Connector…” the state writes on their official website.

The tool was pieced together to educate participants on when, where, and how they can secure a COVID-19 Vaccine. As one proceeds through the Minnesota COVID-19 Vaccine Connector, they will be required to reveal their demographic, medical history, and contact info. Once a Minnesotan interacts with it, the Vaccine Connector will alert them when their dose is prepared. Furthermore, it will aid them throughout their vaccine journey. By typing, “https://” into any search engine, one can launch the Vaccine Connector for themselves.