More than 46,000 students got their first COVID-19 vaccine during state’s ‘Vax to School’ campaign; Minnesota leads Midwest in reported student vaccinations
[ST. PAUL, MN] — As students head back to school, Governor Tim Walz announced that more than 46,000 students 12-17 years old have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine since the launch of the State’s ‘Vax to School’ campaign.
Since July 28, the percentage of Minnesotans 12-15 years old with at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose has increased from 42% to 54.6%. For 16-17-year-olds, the rate has increased from 54.2% to 60.5%. Minnesota is leading the Midwest in reported student vaccinations, as the Walz-Flanagan Administration continues to work to raise vaccination rates and recently released new updates to Minnesota’s first-in-the-nation statewide education testing program.
“As governor, a teacher for 20 years, and a dad — I know how important it is that we do everything within our power to set our children up for a safe and healthy school year,” said Governor Walz. “From the historic investments in education made in our COVID-19 Recovery Budget, to free and expanded testing options for every school in the state, I want Minnesota families to know our administration has your back. Minnesota has come together and done good work protecting our state so far, but there’s more to do. For the sake of our students: we need all eligible Minnesotans vaccinated. If you have not done so yet, get your free COVID-19 vaccine to keep our kids in school and parents at work this fall and winter.”
The Walz-Flanagan Administration has prioritized vaccination efforts to keep Minnesota schools safe. Last winter, Minnesota was one of the first states in the nation to expand eligibility to teachers and child care workers on January 19. Minnesota currently leads the Midwest in the percentage of adolescents fully vaccinated, among states reporting demographic data.
“Our children deserve a school year that is as safe, healthy, and fun as possible,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “The way we help give that to them is simple: by every eligible Minnesotan getting vaccinated. Our students have been so resilient throughout this pandemic, but now is the time to step up and stop any unnecessary spread. If you are unvaccinated but eligible, get your shot today. Our children need you.”
The Walz-Flanagan Administration continues to encourage students, their families, and all Minnesotans to get fully vaccinated for the best protection against COVID-19 infection. Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan visited schools in Blaine, Rochester and Northfield this week calling for Minnesotans 12 and older to get vaccinated to help keep kids in schools. Last week, Governor Walz announced a series of free COVID-19 vaccine clinics at YMCA locations across the Greater Twin Cities area.
Last month, the State announced updates to their first-in-the-nation statewide education testing program with a variety of new, no-fee COVID-19 testing options for schools. Districts and schools now have the ability to develop local testing programs to keep kids and staff healthy, safe and in their classrooms. Schools are also eligible for grants from the Department of Education to support testing. The State is also expanding its network of free, semi-permanent COVID-19 community testing sites across the state.
The Department of Health also released Best Practice Recommendations for COVID-19 Prevention in Schools for the 2021-22 School Year highlighting the CDC best practice recommendations for implementing layered prevention strategies to keep Minnesota schools safe.
Support for COVID-19 vaccinations and testing heading into the school year follows the Walz-Flanagan Administration’s historic investments in education included in Minnesota’s COVID-19 Recovery Budget.