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State will help support provider-led vaccine effort when CDC issues recommendation

[ST. PAUL, MN] – Today, Governor Tim Walz announced Minnesota’s health care providers will be ready to vaccinate children 6 months and older against COVID-19 after a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel voted to recommend vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna for that age group.

Providers cannot vaccinate these children now. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) must first issue vaccination recommendations, which could happen this weekend. Following CDC’s recommendations, the federal government will then ship vaccine doses to providers in Minnesota. Federal officials expect the first doses to arrive in the state early next week, if the vaccine is authorized this weekend.

Minnesota’s provider network – primarily medical systems, pediatricians, family practice providers, local clinics, and pharmacies – will administer most COVID-19 vaccines to children between 6 months and 5 years old because of their expertise caring for young children. The state’s Community Vaccination site at the Mall of America will also offer appointments.

“This is a landmark moment in Minnesota’s fight against the pandemic. Many families have waited long waited for their children to get a COVID-19 shot to help prevent severe illness and keep children in the classroom and activities,” said Governor Walz. “We have worked with an extensive network of health experts and community partners to help make sure Minnesota families who want a vaccine can get their child the shots. Once the CDC recommends the vaccines, I urge the federal government to quickly ship doses to our providers. Soon, the whole family can finally have strong protection against COVID-19.”

“Our littlest children deserve protection from COVID-19, and I’m so glad they will finally get it,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “Now is the time to make a plan to get your kid vaccinated. Reach out to the doctors and providers you trust to ask questions. If your child does not have a regular pediatrician, this is a great opportunity to connect with one and ensure your child is up to date on all their vaccinations and regular medical needs. The vaccine is almost here for children 6 months and up, and I’m so relieved for every Minnesota parent.”

Once authorized, a network of providers mobilized by the Walz-Flanagan Administration will begin to offer the vaccine to families. Initial demand is expected to be high, and families wishing to get the vaccine in a specific location – such as through their family pediatrician – may need to wait several weeks until appointments are available. Providers can be found using the Find Vaccine Locations map, which will be updated as vaccines arrive in Minnesota. Initially, appointments may be limited.

  • More than 320 primary care providers, pediatric and family medicine offices, Federally Qualified Health Centers, local public health agencies, tribal health offices, and Indian Health Service locations report that they will offer the vaccine to children between six months and five years old. Of these, 268 providers say they will begin vaccinating within one week of receiving their doses.
  • At least 44 Minute Clinic locations around Minnesota say they will vaccinate children between 18 months and five years old. All 44 of these Minute Clinic locations say they will begin vaccinating within one week of receiving their doses.
  • At least 50 Minnesota pharmacies say they will vaccinate children between 3 years old and five years old. 44 of these pharmacy locations say they will begin vaccinating within one week of receiving their doses.
  • The state’s Community Vaccination location at the Mall of America will begin administering the vaccine as soon as Wednesday, June 22. If doses arrive on time, parents can begin making appointments for the Mall of America site online beginning Monday, June 20. Initially, appointments will be required for this age group.
  • To expand equal access to the vaccine, 21 COVID-19 Community Coordinators will host vaccination clinics for children under 5 in communities around Minnesota in the weeks ahead. Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Health is partnering with Children’s Minnesota to host weekly vaccination clinics at four Children’s clinic locations in the metro: West Saint Paul, Brooklyn Park, Minneapolis, and Saint Paul. All families, including those who are not Children’s patients, are welcome.

Minnesota providers cannot administer vaccines until the CDC formally recommends the shot. A CDC advisory committee is meeting on Friday and Saturday to consider FDA’s authorizations. Following full CDC authorization, the federal government then needs to ship vaccines to providers. Federal officials have projected that the first doses will arrive in Minnesota the week of June 19.

“The health of our little ones is so important, and the COVID-19 vaccine for children 6 months and older has been found to be safe and is effective at preventing severe illness and hospitalization. The vaccine will help keep children safe from COVID-19,” said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Jan Malcolm. “Minnesota families should make a plan now to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19. Many children have missed important well-child visits and recommended vaccinations during the pandemic, and now is a great time to reconnect with your child’s health care provider to make sure that your child is up to date on everything necessary to be healthy.”

How Minnesotans can get a free COVID-19 shot:

The vaccine for children ages 6 months to 5 years needs to receive authorization from the CDC and providers need to take shipments of the vaccine before they can begin vaccinating. When the vaccines are available, families can do the following to find shots:

  • Contact your or your child’s primary health care provider or a local pharmacy.
  • Use the state’s Find Vaccine Locations to find vaccine providers near you.

  • Check for vaccine appointments at Vaccines.gov , where you can search for appointments by vaccine type (e.g., Pfizer).
  • Watch for vaccination clinics being offered at other community locations around Minnesota.

In the meantime, vaccines and booster shots are available now for all Minnesotans over 5 years old.

How Minnesotans can get a COVID-19 test:

Questions about COVID-19:

  • Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Public Hotline: 1-833-431-2053, Mon.-Fri., 9 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

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