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70% of older Minnesotans to be vaccinated before next phase

MINNEAPOLIS — At least 70% of Minnesotans age 65 and older will get at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine before the state moves on to the next phase of vaccinations, according to Gov. Tim Walz.

The governor is expected to announce the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan Thursday, but it won’t happen until the 70% threshold is reached, which might be by the end of March, according to Walz spokesman Teddy Tschann.

“Governor Walz is committed to giving Minnesota seniors the opportunity to be vaccinated before opening up the process more widely,” Tschann said.

So far, 42% of Minnesotans age 65 or older have gotten at least one shot, according to state estimates, the Star Tribune reported. The state is also vaccinating school and child care employees in the current phase, which came after health care workers and long-term care residents were inoculated.

The next phase, once 70% of seniors get their first shot, would include workers in other essential industries, including employees in manufacturing, grocery stores, agriculture, police and fire, the postal service and public transit. There are about 430,000 Minnesotans in those professions, according to state estimates.

People with pre-existing health conditions that place them at a higher risk for coronavirus complications are also part of the next phase.