A total of 141 people received a shot and a beer at a special COVID-19 vaccination event Monday night outside Lake Monster Brewing in St. Paul that is seeking to help push Minnesota closer to its 70% immunization goal.
While 60.5% of eligible Minnesotans 16 or older, or more than 2.6 million people, have received at least a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, state health officials have said it will take more creative approaches to maintain progress and get the state to its target goal.
Gov. Tim Walz is scheduled Tuesday afternoon to appear at CHS Field in advance of the St. Paul Saints home opener to highlight an on-site vaccination effort taking place there as well. Volunteers arranged Monday's vaccination event at Lake Monster, which provided a coupon for a free beer for recipients, said Dr. Anne Griffiths, a coordinator of the event.
The latest Minnesota data has shown a slowdown in vaccinations against COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by exposure to the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The state on Tuesday reported nine more COVID-19 deaths and 583 more infections, bringing Minnesota's pandemic totals to 7,240 deaths and 589,527 infections.
The vaccine recipients in Minnesota include nearly 2.2 million people who have completed the one- or two-dose series. The number of doses administered has declined, though, from 409,679 in the week beginning April 4 to 228,571 in the week beginning May 2.
Walz has pledged to end the state's public indoor mask mandate on July 1, or sooner if Minnesota reaches its 70% vaccination goal. The state's numerical target for ending the mandate will remain vaccinating 3,087,404 people 16 and older, even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday authorized the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in people age 12 to 15.
Walz in a statement encouraged parents to seek vaccine for children in this newly eligible age range: "Let's get our kids their shot as soon as possible so they are fully vaccinated and protected in time for a fun, safe summer."
The nine deaths reported Tuesday all involved people who lived in private residences, an indication of vaccine effectiveness in the vulnerable long-term care residents who were prioritized for shots earlier this winter. One death involved a Sherburne County resident in the 35 to 39 year age range — the state's 60th COVID-19 death of someone younger than 40.
Staff writer Christopher Snowbeck contributed to this report.
Jeremy Olson • 612-673-7744