Walz highlights vaccination campaign focused on 12- to 15-year-olds

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and other state officials highlighted the state’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign that is now aiming at 12-to-15 year olds. The FDA recently approved the Pfizer vaccine for that age group.

"We took a big step toward normal last week, but a safe and fun summer is possible only if everyone who can be protected is protected," Walz said. "You get protected by getting your shot — and now more young people have the power to do their part. And when you get your shot, bring a friend, bring a sibling, bring anyone you can, so we can be protected and enjoy the concerts, the festivals, and all the summertime events we’ve been missing."

Walz’s office says 12- to 15-year-olds and their families will be prioritized for shots at the Mall of America community vaccination site this week. Walk-ins are welcomed, but appointments can be made online.

Efforts to vaccinate teens also include pop-up clinics in local schools, the governor’s office said.

Parental or guardian consent is required for people under 18 to get vaccinated, and 12- to 15-year-olds must be accompanied by a parent or guardian when receiving the shot.

"The idea out there that our kids aren’t impacted by COVID-19 isn’t true and the vaccines are one of the ways we can help again protect them," Dr. Nathan Chomilo said standing alongside the governor at a vaccination promotion at the Mall of America. Dr. Chomilo is a pediatrician who works with the Minnesota Department of Health. "My message to parents is we have a safe and effective vaccine and I really encourage if you have questions, that’s okay. Talk to your pediatrician, talk to your family practice provider."

Governor Walz says he’s considering a variety of incentives to motivate more people to get vaccinated. He’s considering everything from free fishing licenses and state park permits to gift cards. He’s even considered a lottery like Ohio is doing or giving students a chance to win college scholarships. The governor says he expects this staff to put together a "menu" of ideas for him to consider very soon.