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Video: Minnesota first responders start to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Dec 30, 2020 07:14AM ● By Editor

Watch the KARE 11 Report here

Photo: KARE 11

By Jennifer Hoff of KARE 11 News - December 29, 2020

On Tuesday, the Minnesota Department of Health announced it would start to update its vaccination information every day instead of weekly – this as another new group of people got their first vaccines. 

Minneapolis Fire Chief Bryan Tyner was the first in his department to get the first dose of the Moderna vaccine. He says the vaccine isn't mandatory for firefighters, but that a majority of the department plans to get it.

"We will continue to be vigilant even after we've gotten the vaccine," said Chief Tyner. "I believe it's going to be the quickest way for us to overcome this pandemic."

He said firefighters within his department who want the vaccine should all get their first dose by New Year's Day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, firefighters fall into the 1B phase of vaccination. 

However, MDH says it is still vaccinating group 1A, while officials for the City of Minneapolis and Hennepin County say this newest group includes people who have emergency medical service or paramedic certifications. The county also started giving shots to its health care workers who will be in charge of eventually vaccinating the community. 

MDH says just 38,014 people have been vaccinated, even though it's data shows it has nearly 175,000 doses on hand. A Park Nicollet infectious disease doctor says the difference isn't concerning. 

"The lag time really is about you may have more doses on hand, but they're probably spoken for in the next several days," says Dr. Mark Sannes. "I think sometimes it’s hard to interpret the summary data we’re getting."

Still, Dr. Sannes is confident the vaccine isn't being wasted - both Moderna and Pfizer shouldn't expire as long as it's stored in the right environments. He says the MDH data will equalize the further along we are in the vaccination process. 

"At some point we'll reach a steady state," says Dr. Sannes. "We'd like to say that everything we're getting in, we'll be giving out, if not already, very soon."

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