ROCHESTER, Minn. - Minnesota health officials are unveiling their initial coronavirus vaccine distribution plan.
The Minnesota Department of Health says it will take a phased approach to the distribution of any COVID-19 vaccine, which could begin as early as November depending on the approval status of current candidates.
The first phase of distribution will prioritize mission-critical workers, such as health care professionals and first responders, as well as with vulnerable populations. Phase two will begin once a larger number of doses become available, at which point more members of the public will have access to vaccination.
MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann says there are now a number of vaccine candidates in advanced-stage testing, but it is still unknown if or when any of them will be made available.
"It's too early to say exactly when the first vaccine will become available to Minnesotans, but we are optimistic that there will be one or more coming in the months ahead," Ehresmann said. "No matter what, our pledge to all Minnesotans is that we will move foreward with a vaccine only when the evidence shows that it is safe and effective."
Ehresmann went on to say some vaccines may pose additional logistical challenges to officials, with multiple candidates requiring two or more doses administered weeks apart.