Minnesota health officials wait on feds for vaccine guidance

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz inspects the first delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines to the Minneapolis VA Hospital as FedEx driver Seth Warnecke carries the box, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota health officials say they're waiting for more information from the federal government on its new guidance to expand who's eligible to get the coronavirus vaccine.

The federal government this week urged states to immediately start vaccinating groups that had been lower down the priority scale than before, including people age 65 and older and younger people with certain health problems.

The Minnesota Department of Health said no additional vaccine doses have been made available for Minnesota so far. But the department said it's ready if the vaccine supply increases in the near term.

“As we learn more, we will work to make sure everyone who is eligible for a vaccine knows how, where, and when they can get their shots," the agency said in an email update Wednesday. "Everyone’s opportunity to get vaccinated will come; it will just take some time.”

It’s been a month since coronavirus vaccinations began in Minnesota. So far, more than 155,000 doses have been administered, mainly to frontline health care workers and long-term care residents.

Critics in the Legislature said Wednesday that the total should be far higher and the universe of people who qualify should be broader. Nearly 500,000 doses have arrived in Minnesota, although some are earmarked for long-term care residents.

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