More than 144,000 people have received one dose of COVID-19 vaccine in Minnesota and 7,392 have completed the two-dose course that is 95% effective at preventing the infectious disease.
Those figures were reported Tuesday on a new Minnesota COVID-19 vaccine website that health officials said will keep people better informed about the state's progress amid the pandemic.
The website also shows that 541,100 doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines have been designated to Minnesota, though that includes some second booster doses that people are supposed to receive within three to four weeks for maximum protection. Some of those doses are still being shipped to Minnesota as well.
Following federal guidance from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, Minnesota has reserved its limited initial supply of COVID-19 vaccine for health care workers at greater risk of infection with the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 and for residents of long-term care facilities.
Residents of these facilities are at greater risk of severe illness and make up 64% of the 5,724 COVID-19 deaths in Minnesota, including five of the 13 deaths reported on Tuesday. The state also reported 1,335 newly diagnosed infections, bringing Minnesota's total in the pandemic to 438,867.
Health officials remain concerned that holiday gatherings increased viral transmission and disrupted progress against the latest wave of the pandemic. The positivity rate of COVID-19 diagnostic testing increased from 4.7% on Dec. 24 to 7.5% on Jan. 3.
The number of COVID-19 cases admitted to inpatient beds in Minnesota hospitals declined from a peak of 1,864 on Nov. 29 to 666 on Dec. 9, but slightly increased to 692 on Jan. 11.
The initial vaccine priority group consists of about 500,000 people. A state advisory panel met Monday to discuss the next wave of vaccinations for roughly 1.1 million people who are 75 or older or workers such as teachers and police officers in essential front-line occupations. Vaccinations for this group are expected to start later this month or in early February.
Federal leaders on Tuesday were expected to announce an overall change in the U.S. vaccination strategy that allows states to prioritize shots for anyone 65 or older. State infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann on Tuesday said she had just received that information and that it was too soon to assess whether that would affect Minnesota's strategy.
The new state vaccine website includes county-level data and estimates that 2.6% of Minnesota's population has received at least one dose. The majority of doses have been given to women and to people in the 18 to 49 age range, reflecting the demographics of Minnesota's health care workforce.
Vaccination of long-term care residents has been largely diverted to a federal program involving chain pharmacies such as Walgreens and CVS that has had a slower start.
The new website has some of the same pitfalls as data previously provided by the state Health Department. The data is somewhat delayed, because COVID-19 vaccinations must be reported in 24 hours for health care workers and in 72 hours under the federal program for immunizing long-term care facility residents. Differences in the timing and definition of COVID-19 vaccinations also result in varying numbers across websites.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently reports that 422,450 vaccine doses for COVID-19 have been earmarked to Minnesota and that 157,245 have been administered. Ehresmann said the CDC data differs in part because it includes vaccinations occurring at federal facilities such as the Minneapolis VA Medical Center and Cass Lake Indian Health Services.
Jeremy Olson • 612-673-7744