1st doses of COVID-19 vaccine arrive in Minnesota

Rebecca Omastiak
Updated: December 14, 2020 10:12 PM
Created: December 14, 2020 08:56 AM

Monday, the first coronavirus vaccine shipment arrived in the metro area.

The vaccine shipment was delivered to the Minneapolis VA Health Care System at about 9 a.m.

During a brief appearance, Gov. Tim Walz mentioned that about 3,000 doses had arrived.

One of the first COVID-19 vaccine shots was to be administered at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center to front-line medical staff early Tuesday morning, according to a release by the hospital.

While Minnesotans wait to roll up their sleeves, in Wisconsin, the vaccine is already being distributed.

At UW-Health in Madison, one of the first COVID-19 vaccines was administered on Monday afternoon, to a respiratory therapist, who paused to reflect on the moment.

"It's important, because so many people have died from this...I wanted to have an impact on my community and show them I'm playing my part," Tina Schubert, who received the vaccine, said.

Shots made by Pfizer, Inc., and its German partner BioNTech are the first authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration—beginning what will become the largest vaccination campaign in U.S. history.

Hubbard Broadcasting-owned KAAL-TV reports about 975 doses of the vaccine also arrived at Olmsted Medical Center Monday morning.

"This is an exciting day for Minnesota," Walz said. "The first vaccines are here. They are safe, and they will be ready to go soon. The sun is coming up, Minnesota."

"With these first shipments, we will soon begin vaccinating thousands of health care workers and the most critically at-risk Minnesotans," Walz continued. "All Minnesotans will have the opportunity to receive the vaccine in time, but until then, we need to stay safe and keep up the fight."

Throughout the week, Minnesota is expected to receive 46,800 total units of the vaccine. Minnesota Department of Health staff will then train providers on protocols and procedures for administering the vaccine with vaccinations expected to begin next week.

"While we have hundreds of experienced nurses and vaccine providers in the state, this vaccine is new and complex and vaccinating thousands of people in a short time is a massive undertaking," said Kris Ehresmann, infectious disease director at the Minnesota Department of Health. "So training is critical to ensure vaccines are administered according to protocols."

The Pfizer vaccine must be stored at -94 degrees Fahrenheit. The Minnesota Department of Health plans to spend the week training providers on best practices for how to store, handle and administer the new vaccine.  

"It might look like any other vaccine and feel like any other vaccine but it's higher risk for being inactivated if it's not kept at the right temperature," said KSTP medical expert Dr. Archelle Georgiou. "So probably more of the dry runs are making sure we maintain the right temperature when it goes from vial to getting injected in someone's arm."

US set for first COVID-19 shots as shipments begin arriving

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