ST. PAUL – As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow, Governor Tim Walz Tuesday outlined the general plan for distributing a forthcoming vaccine throughout Minnesota.

In a video briefing alongside health officials, Walz said the COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan is still under construction. Drug companies Pfizer and Moderna are manufacturing the earliest round of vaccines, both of which are being considered for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration. The Pfizer vaccine could be approved by December 10. Moderna is slated for approval a week later.

Health officials say both vaccines have been shown to be around 95 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 infections.

State health care workers and those in long-term care facilities are part of the first phase of vaccinations in Minnesota, which could begin as early as the end of December.

Walz says the state's first shipment of vaccine is expected to include over 183,000 doses between both manufacturers. Both require two doses.

Walz cautioned residents to remain vigilant and expect changes as the vaccine rollout plan is established.

“It’s changed several times, and we will adjust accordingly," said Walz. "I know you’re all out there doing the math right now. 183,000 is not 5,695,000 like the people we have in Minnesota. No, but it’s 183,400, specifically targeted at healthcare workers and the most vulnerable adults in long-term care.”

Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm echoed the Governor, warning residents that the distribution plan is dependent on the federal government’s approval of vaccines.

“Just within the last few days, we’ve had multiple updates in terms of less vaccine coming than we thought,” Malcolm said. “And, we’ve gotten less assurance of the amount of doses we’re going to be getting. So, we will keep those kinds of numbers updated for you, but anything we’re telling you today is what we know today.”

Once vaccines arrive in Minnesota, local public health agencies, medical clinics and pharmacies are in charge of getting them to residents. The state plans to publicly keep track of vaccine distribution, including the number of doses administered, on the Minnesota Department of Health’s website.

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