Minnesota's allocation of federally controlled COVID-19 vaccine increased to 871,650 doses on Friday amid statewide efforts to finish immunizing health care workers and long-term care residents, and to start giving shots to senior citizens as well.

The Minnesota Department of Health updates its allocation each Friday, with the latest total representing an increase of 244,725 doses of the two-dose COVID-19 vaccines. The state also reported that 214,050 people have received first doses and 49,604 have completed the series — an increase of more than 17,000 doses administered compared to Thursday's figures.

Health officials have taken steps in the past week to hasten the administration of limited quantities of vaccine against a pandemic that has caused the deaths of 6,032 Minnesotans and 452,268 diagnosed infections in the state.

This week's shipment of 60,000 doses included 12,000 that were diverted to nine test clinics for COVID-19 vaccinations of people 65 and older as well as teachers and child-care providers. Half went to roughly 6,000 seniors who were fortunate enough to navigate a crashing state registration site on Tuesday and make appointments this Thursday through Saturday.

The other half were allocated in small quantities to individual child care programs and school districts, which prioritized them for teachers providing the most in-person learning.

The total vaccine allocation includes 522,875 doses that have been shipped to Minnesota providers so far. Half have already been administered and state Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said about 170,000 doses are reserved as second booster shots. Clinical trials showed around 95% effectiveness when the shots were administered on schedule — with second doses coming four weeks after the first doses of Moderna vaccine and three weeks after the first doses of Pfizer vaccine.

The state first prioritized limited COVID-19 vaccine for roughly 500,000 health care workers and long-term care facility staff and residents, but recently encouraged providers to start giving available doses to Minnesota's more than 900,000 senior citizens as well.

The latest pandemic wave continued to ease in Minnesota, where Malcolm said a brief increase in viral activity after the holidays has eased. However, concerns of another wave later this winter or spring have increased due to the discovery of more infectious strains of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Minnesota's totals in the pandemic include 21 COVID-19 deaths and 1,525 infections reported on Friday.

Mask mandates and business restrictions to reduce viral transmission have had an impact beyond COVID-19, as new state data on Thursday showed a historically slow start to the influenza season. The state has reported 26 flu-related hospitalizations so far — compared to hundreds at this point in prior seasons — and three flu-related deaths.

Sentinel clinics in Minnesota reported that only .1% of patients had flu-like illnesses in the week ending Jan. 16. Normally, that rate would be around 3% at this time of year.

Jeremy Olson • 612-673-7744