All Minnesotans aged 16 and older will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine beginning Tuesday, March 30, Gov. Tim Walz announced Friday.
Ashley Wiertzema, Wilkin County Public Health, said they will receive their next allotment of 100 doses April 5, which they will be able to administer to anyone 16 and older who lives or works in the county. CHI St. Francis Health and Thrifty White Pharmacy in Breckenridge, Minnesota, will be moving on March 30 with the rest of the state.
Wiertzema said anyone 16 and older interested in receiving a vaccine should call Wilkin County Public Health at (218) 643-7122 to get on a waitlist before the April 5 allotment. If an individual is able to get their vaccine sooner somewhere else, they should call public health back to have their name removed from the waitlist to open up an opportunity for someone else.
“We’re excited because in our rural area, it will put us at the same level as Wahpeton and Richland County. Wilkin will be doing general vaccinations too,” Wiertzema said.
If anyone from the previous eligibility groups has not yet received their first dose, they should call public health, and Wiertzema said they will arrange an appointment. She said they have not yet had to turn anyone away due to a full clinic.
“We were really ready to move on to the general public a few weeks ago,” Wiertzema said.
The previous state goal set in late February was to vaccinate 70 percent of Minnesotans ages 65 and older by the end of March, but by March 7, the state had already vaccinated 67 percent of the age group. Walz then announced Minnesota would be expanding vaccine eligibility to those with one to two underlying health conditions and certain essential workers.
Now, the state will fully open eligibility in anticipation of an increased vaccine supply from the federal government beginning in April. President Biden’s goal was to expand eligibility to all adults by May 1, making Minnesota over a month ahead of schedule and the leading state in the nation for the percentage of vaccine doses administered.
“Minnesota has been leading the nation in getting shots into arms, and we plan to continue that leadership,” Walz said. “By expanding eligibility to all Minnesotans, we will give providers the flexibility they need to keep getting shots into arms quickly, efficiently, and equitably.”