ROCHESTER, Minn. - Olmsted County and Mayo Clinic are making significant progress in their efforts to vaccinate those 65 and older along with child care workers and educators.
Mayo Clinic says overall 65% of its Midwest employees have had at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. As far as patients, infectious disease specialist Dr. Abinash Virk said, 42,000 individuals have received a vaccine with 17,000 of them finishing their second dose as well.
This week the health care system received 9,680 doses of the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. In Rochester that means around 4,000 doses will be available.
As Mayo Clinic continues to vaccinate those 65 and older Dr. Virk says the system is planning for the new Minnesota Department of Health guidelines to expand vaccine eligibility.
She explained, "We are now just continuing to plan towards the new Minnesota Department of Health guidelines in terms of the next categories of people that we need to start working towards inviting for vaccinations and we're working towards all of that."
Mayo Clinic also addressed whether the COVID vaccine will be an annual shot like the flu vaccine.
According to Virk, "There's a high likelihood that COVID-19 is going to be an annual vaccine. How long it's going to be needed is difficult to tell but it's likely going to be an annual vaccine like influenza."
Olmsted County also says good progress is being made with those 65 and older adding more than 64% of that population have received at least their first dose.
The county is still working to get everyone in the 1A category vaccinated by offering clinics this week through the health department.
Director Graham Briggs says he's pleased to announce at the end of this week that all school employees in Olmsted County will have been offered their first dose of the vaccine.
Briggs says it's amazing how far we've come in one year and encourages anyone who is eligible for the vaccine to book an appointment.
He explained, "Just a year after the emergence of a novel virus to have this as a tool to stop a pandemic is something we've never done in human history before and to see that they work well and that they're safe is huge in my mind."
The county hopes to ramp up distribution of the vaccine as Johnson & Johnson becomes more readily available.