Walz gets flu shot, urges Minnesotans to do the same

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Gov. Tim Walz joined Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm on Tuesday afternoon to receive a flu shot.

The governor urged all Minnesotans to get their flu shot. He and Malcolm noted last year’s flu season was minor compared to past years, largely due to masking and social distancing, but the delta variant is complicating this year’s flu season by already hospitalizing many people. That makes it more important for Minnesotans to get the flu shot, they said.

"I would argue it’s especially important this year where hospital space is at a premium and, at this point, it would be unknown how severe a flu season will be, but we do know the vaccine cuts your chances greatly. It certainly reduces the severity of it," Walz said.

The governor then touched on a few political topics, including bonus pay for front-line workers and a possible special session.

Walz asked lawmakers to decide quickly on a front-line worker bonus pay plan along with drought relief for farmers. He also wants them to consider a list of pandemic responses, including vaccine and testing requirements for teachers and school staff.

"I don’t believe they will ask for folks to either do masks, vaccines or testing, although a lot of independent businesses are doing exactly that, health care facilities. We’re certainly doing it in the state of Minnesota," Walz said. "I don’t think they’ll ask that for schools and I don’t think they’ll do masking. It is has become a litmus test on purity apparently for our Republican legislators, and I just acknowledged when I spoke to them that I need to state I think that’s the best course of action, but I don’t think they will do it."

Republican Senate Majority Leader Jeremy Miller responded to Walz, saying:

"I appreciate the meeting with Governor Walz and legislative leaders this afternoon, and I’m confident we can reach an agreement on the bonus pay for frontline workers.

"The growing list of requests from Governor Walz is not productive towards ensuring these dedicated workers receive their bonus pay in a timely manner. They took the biggest risk and kept us safe during the pandemic, and they deserve meaningful bonus checks."