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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FROM REP. STEVE DRAZKOWSKI - DISTRICT 21-B

Wednesday, December 9, 2020
 

Hello, friends! I wanted to take this opportunity to update you on some of the recent activities here at the Minnesota State Capitol.

Vaccine Rollout

Yesterday, Governor Tim Walz unveiled Minnesota’s plan for distributing the COVID-19 vaccine. While the vaccine is currently not available, the federal government is expected to start shipping doses of the vaccine soon. To start, Minnesota will receive a limited number of vaccine doses.

The limited number of vaccine doses will require strategic prioritization in how the vaccine is distributed. As such, I wanted to give you an update on the Governor’s plan to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine.

The below information comes directly from the Office of the Governor of Minnesota:

Vaccine is coming soon

• No vaccine has officially been approved yet, but two manufacturers have submitted their data from clinical trials to the FDA for approval.

• Pfizer submitted their information to the FDA on Nov. 20 and Moderna was not far behind on Nov. 30. This is a key step, but it does not mean a vaccine is approved yet. We expect to hear about the Pfizer vaccine around Dec. 10 and the Moderna vaccine on Dec. 17.

• These are the first two vaccines to go through the process – others are going through clinical trials as well, so more vaccines will likely come online in early 2021.

Some things we know about these vaccines

• Both Pfizer and Moderna indicated efficacy of 95%.

• Both must meet strict and existing safety standards.

• Takes two doses.

• Adults recommended now.

• Vaccine will not be required or mandated.

When vaccine will be available

• Ultimately, all Minnesotans will have an opportunity to be vaccinated. It just won’t be right away for everyone.

• Vaccine will be rolled out in a phased approach. This is because there will be a limited number of doses available initially. More doses will continuously be made and distributed, but we caution that it will all take time and be a fluid situation.

• Moving from one phase to the next will be determined by vaccine supply and uptake, so we can’t give firm dates for when one phase will end and another will begin.

Who will get vaccine first

• The National Academies of Science released a report on framework for equitable allocation of COVID-19 vaccine. With that guidance in mind, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP) made recommendations for priority groups who should receive early limited doses.

o For phase 1a, the first phase, they said health care personnel and long-term care residents should be included.

o We don’t have final decisions on the rest of the phases yet, but in general, we expect Phase 1b to consist of essential workers, and Phase 1c to consist of persons with high-risk medical conditions and persons 65+ years of age. Again, it’s possible these could change.

• MDH will follow ACIP guidance, and we worked with our MN Vaccine Allocation Advisory Workgroup to take ACIP guidance and apply it to MN.

• Minnesota has identified three sub-priority groups. We have guidance posted on our website with more details (will be posted at 1:30 p.m.): https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/vaccine/index.html.

• We know that especially in the earliest weeks of vaccine distribution there will not be nearly enough vaccine to meet demand for the groups identified as top priorities in Phase 1A, not to mention the many other groups that we know have legitimate arguments for deserving early vaccines.

• The National Academies of Science released a report on framework for equitable allocation of COVID-19 vaccine. With that guidance in mind, the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP) made recommendations for priority groups who should receive early limited doses.

How vaccine will be distributed

• Initial vaccines will be given in closed settings – we’re bringing the vaccine to the priority groups.

• This means there’s not a “list” that Minnesotans need to get on to get vaccine. Since phase 1a is based on employment and place of residence, people eligible for this category will be contacted by their employer or the facility where they live to let them know when vaccine is available to them.

• Vaccine does not come to MN and sit in a warehouse. It goes directly to providers who are enrolled with us to give COVID-19 vaccine.

• COVID-19 vaccine will be distributed through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) centralized vaccine distribution system. This is the same system that is used to distribute vaccine for the Minnesota Vaccines for Children, (MnVFC) and Uninsured and Underinsured Adult Vaccination (UUAV) programs.

• Providers need to register with the state in order to provide COVID-19 vaccine – this is a federal requirement.

• We have a variety of vaccinators enrolling (e.g., pharmacies, primary care, community vaccinators and more).

• Details on how providers can enroll are on MDH website.

• We’re making sure there are plenty of enrolled providers in every corner of the state. We want vaccine accessible to all.

Contact

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me or my office. My email address is Rep.Steve.Drazkowski@house.mn. Additionally, please reach out to my Legislative Assistant, Luke, with any questions. Luke’s email is Luke.Sprinkel@house.mn. Emailing is the fastest way to reach me. Contact me anytime with questions or concerns.

Steve Drazkowski

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