St. Louis County now scheduling third vaccine group
The county is striving to have the first dose to everyone in Phase 1a by the end of the month.
St. Louis County Public Health is now scheduling vaccinations for organizations that fall under the state's third and final priority tier of Phase 1a.
Any employer with qualifying staff who has not already been contacted by public health, a hospital or a pharmacy should register for vaccinations online by Jan. 25 at stlouiscountymn.gov/vaccineregistration , according to a news release from the county.
That includes non-telecommuting staff at the following employers:
- Adult foster care.
- Ambulatory clinics.
- Community residential settings.
- Correctional settings.
- Dental offices.
- Emergency shelters.
- Funeral homes.
- Group homes.
- At-home health care.
- Intermediate care facilities.
- Mental and behavioral health settings.
- Public health clinics.
- Residential care facilities.
- School nurses and EMS personnel who didn't fall under the first and second priority groups of Phase 1a.
The county is striving to have everyone who's eligible in Phase 1a registered for their first dose by the end of January and to administer to broader categories of 1b by Feb. 1. Phase 1b includes essential workers and people age 65 and older.
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Anyone in a Phase 1a priority group will still be able to receive a vaccine at a later date; however, there is less certainty of when that would be an option due to continued limited availability of the vaccine.
The Minnesota Department of Health had been planning to release the details of who will be included in 1b this week, but that was delayed after the federal government, on Jan. 12, directed states to vaccinate people age 65 during Phase 1b. Prior to that, states were planning for 1b to include people age 75 and older.
A St. Louis County spokesperson told the News Tribune the county has not been told when to expect those guidelines, but that it anticipates to receive them in time to start broadly vaccinating people in that category come February.
In the meantime, the state is continuing to push the federal government for more vaccine, said Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm in a COVID-19 news conference Thursday.
"We're anticipating news in coming days and weeks from the federal government on what we might expect with more vaccines in the pipeline and potentially more supply coming from manufacturers of the ones that are currently approved," Malcolm said.
This week, the state announced and launched a new pilot program to begin vaccinating school and child care employees as well as people age 65 and older. The program consists of nine vaccine clinics around the state, including Northeastern Minnesota's in Mountain Iron.
On Friday, Jan. 21, the site will open to the select number of people age 65 and older who were able to secure one of the 260 appointments as well as about 300 school employees from across the region who were selected to receive the first vaccines set aside for educators.
"These sites really are intended to complement the other avenues for getting vaccinations," Malcolm said. "It is not intended to replace those other vehicles for getting vaccination. Most people, quite frankly, as the supply expands will be getting their shots from their health care provider or eventually, perhaps from a community pharmacy."
Malcolm later added: "You may also have heard that the new federal administration, the Biden administration, is talking about more federal support for community vaccination sites, potentially including some that they would run. So there is much still kind of in flux in terms of what does that ultimate delivery system look like."
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The state of Minnesota reported Thursday that another 166 residents of Northeastern Minnesota have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That data is from Jan. 18. St. Louis County logged 58 of those and another 201 people in the county have completed the two-dose series.
Across the seven-county region, nearly 13,400 people have had at least one shot and of those, nearly 4,100 have completed the series.