Minnesota vaccination rates slow down, Walz hints to more ‘normal’ summer

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The COVID-19 vaccination site at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds isn’t seeing a mad rush of people like it was a few weeks ago.

Bill Kloeppner was waiting for his wife, who was there getting her second shot.

"They were not requiring appointments here, so they said we will work you in," Kloeppner said.

If people go online with a quick search of COVID-19 vaccine appointments at pharmacies and large retailers, it shows hundreds of availabilities across the state.

"There’s always going to be a little bit of a natural slowing down as we go through that, those that we’re most excited about it and I think that’s where we’re at right now," said Dr. Kevin Best, Vice President of Medical Operations for Primary Care at Allina Health.

Best says Allina Clinic is still filling vaccine appointments, but it’s just taking a little longer.

Although, he believes there’s still plenty of interest.

"Getting vaccinated now and being able to stamp out this virus right now actually reduces the risk that it would become more of a cyclical problem down the road," Best said.

Gov. Tim Walz says while the vaccine rate may be slowing, it is still going up about a percentage point a day.

"We are going to potentially, by June, have 70% of our people 12 or 16 and above be vaccinated. At that point in time, Minnesotans should start assuming that they will have a very normal-looking summer," Walz said.

The Biden administration announced Tuesday it hopes to have 70% of American adults vaccinated by the 4th of July. This would shifts COVID-19 allocations, moving doses from states with lower demand to those with stronger interest.

While it’s not yet clear what that will mean for Minnesota’s vaccine allotment, state health experts say they are focused on ramping up smaller scale, more customized community vaccination events.

"Yes, this will take more work, but we are happy to do it and committed to it so that every Minnesotan has access to the vaccine in a place and manner that is comfortable to them," said Kris Ehresmann with the Minnesota Department of Health.