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Rochester, MN (KROC AM News) - Olmsted County Public Health Services has released an update on the local COVID-19 vaccination program.

Here's the info:

The first doses of COVID-19 vaccine were given last week to people working in health care settings who are at greatest risk of getting COVID-19 at work.

Additional groups, including emergency media services personnel, long-term care facilities and COVID-19 testers and vaccinators started this week. It is expected vaccinations for this phase will take several weeks if not months, depending on how much and how quickly vaccines will be available and shipped. Weekly vaccine shipments of both Moderna and Pfizer BioNTech vaccines are anticipated, however supplies received will be very limited in the beginning and unpredictable.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) provides local recommendations using the established federal guidelines on which groups will get the vaccine first. MDH has established a COVID-19 vaccine allocation advisory group to help ensure the vaccine is distributed quickly and fairly across the state. The advisory group is made up of external partners who represent key populations in the state, such as local public health, long-term care, pharmacy partners, diverse communities, and more.

The goals of the COVID-19 Vaccine program include:

Ensure safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines
Reduce transmission, morbidity, mortality of COVID-19 disease
Help minimize disruption to society and the economy, including maintaining healthcare capacity

Phase 1
Health Care Personnel / LTC residents

1.a – first priority group

  • Hospitals: All personnel working in dedicated COVID-19 units, ICU, emergency departments, designated COVID-19 urgent care clinics. This includes, but not limited to: nurses and nursing assistants, doctors, advanced practice providers, respiratory therapists, lab/tech staff, and environmental services/maintenance staff.
  • Long-term Care facilities (skilled nursing facilities and nursing homes). All personnel working in these settings and residents living in these settings, including veterans’ homes
  • Emergency Medical Services Personnel: People providing direct patient care as part of the EMS system. This includes: air ambulance pilots, ground ambulance drivers, physicians, physician assistants, nurses, and those personnel certified or registered by the EMSRB: paramedic, emergency medical technicians and advanced EMTs, and emergency medical responders.
  • COVID-19 testers: Personnel providing testing at large community testing centers
  • COVID-19 community vaccinators: Public health vaccinators and those administering COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1a
  • 1.a – second priority group
  • Hospitals: All personnel providing direct patient services or handling infectious materials and not included in the first priority group.
  • Long-term Care facilities (Assisted living facilities/housing with services with an arranged home care provider): All personnel working these facilities.
  • Urgent care settings: All personnel providing direct patient services or handling infectious materials and not included in the first priority group.
  • Dialysis centers: All personnel providing direct patient services or handling infectious materials.
  • 1.a – third priority group
  • All remaining healthcare personnel not included in the first and second priority groups that are unable to telework. This may include: health care personnel that work in hospitals, ambulatory and outpatient settings, home health settings, emergency shelters, dental offices, pharmacies, correctional settings, and group homes.
  • Adult residents living in Intermediate Care Facilities for people with intellectual disabilities and other adult residents living in residential care facilities licensed in MN primarily serving at-risk people including older adults, people with intellectual and physical disabilities, in setting such as community residential settings and adult foster care.

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