Larson outlines COVID-19 vaccine plans

With a vaccine for Minnesotans coming in the near future, Duluth Mayor Emily Larson outlined how it could work in Duluth.

Larson says the city will be working with UMD and local hospitals for cold storage of the vaccine when it becomes available.

She shared the excitement of the governor and health officials that distribution is on the horizon.

“I will be getting this vaccine when it is the right time for me to do so,” said Larson.

Larson, like many others will likely have to wait to be vaccinated, but she is thankful there is progress.

“The timing of it, which later this month we will start seeking Minnesotans have access to that, to me what that means is first of all it could not come at a better time. We are exhausted by this pandemic. People are nervous and scared,” said Larson.

Larson described the vaccine as the third tool to fight the virus, in addition to testing at the DECC and the COVID-19 digital app.

She says she anticipates the DECC being one of the locations where the vaccine is given.

“I kind of envision it the same way that we’ve been doing the state testing site, which is at the DECC and also people could get it in their clinics, and people could get it through the hospital testing station,” said Larson.

St. Luke’s Hospital says they expect the first doses for health care workers to arrive before the end of the year.

They are awaiting final numbers to find out how many doses they will be getting, but say the state health department is confident they will receive them weekly.

Even with a vaccine coming, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz cautions we aren’t out of the woods yet.

“This is the worst part of the pandemic yet for our country and certainly for Minnesota, so the vaccine will not fix that,” said Walz.

Therefore, he urges Minnesotans to dig in a little deeper, and continue to follow the guidelines.

“I think it’s okay tonight to go home and be pretty darn happy, and recognize that this is a brand new phase, and it’s the beginning of the end… but we’ve got work to do, so don’t let you guard down,” said Walz.

MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann says health care workers should be able to get vaccinated starting the week of December 21.

She adds the general public may have to wait until the summer for their turn.

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