Minnesota Lt. Gov. Flanagan highlights COVID-19 vaccine distribution in communities of color

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On Friday, Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan highlighted the efforts to vaccinate communities of color, including native communities across the state.

Flanagan said the state is getting 60,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses each week. But with 5.6 million Minnesotans, she said there’s still a ways to go.

In the meantime, she’s working with leaders to show the vaccine is safe for citizens to get.

Stella Whitney-West is the CEO of NorthPoint Health and Wellness Center. On Friday, she got her COVID-19 vaccine on-camera.

"They are excited as well to be able to be a part of the other side, of providing hope to their patients and to the community," Whitney-West said.

According to Whitney-West, 90% of NorthPoint patients are people of color.

"Those are the folks that are being affected disproportionately by COVID-19," she said.

Flanagan, who lost a family member to COVID-19, visited a Native American community clinic and NorthPoint on Friday.

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"As someone who lost a family member to COVID-19, knowing that there are other families who won’t have to experience the loss that I did because they will have access to the vaccine is really moving," Flanagan said.

Flanagan said showing Whitney-West getting her vaccine is helpful for people with deep-rooted concerns.

"What COVID has done, has exposed and exacerbated a lot of the inequities in our state … Frankly, where there is distrust of the medical system based on past trauma, it’s important for us to send the message that it’s safe," Flanagan said.

Whitney-West said NorthPoint has enough vaccine supply for staff and anticipates there will be enough moving forward for all patients.

As soon as the vaccine is available to her, Flanagan said she will get it.