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Minnesota health leaders observe vaccine process for first responders

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HENNEPIN COUNTY, Minn. (KTTC) -- The race to vaccinate continues across the globe. In Minnesota, a move in the right direction Friday, as EMS certified first responders rolled up their sleeves for the Moderna vaccine.

Gov. Tim Walz and other state health leaders stood by to watch the process in action and tour a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Hennepin County.

"It's a relief," one responder said shortly before his injection.

"So, it's that sense of now you can get this, it will get your through and now you can respond and do what you need to do," Walz confirmed.

A relief for the two first responders given vaccines after nine months of unknown. But for the general public, that sense of uncertainty is still being felt.

"We got a ways to go here," Walz said. "But it truly is the end game."

One question sitting on the minds of many Minnesotans: when can I get vaccinated? Without the immediate supply, it's tough to say.

"I think late spring, early summer before the general public would be able to go to the drugstore and get vaccinated," Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm said.

"I think they set the bar very high," Walz said, referring to the federal government. "And overpromised and it was more complex than that. They set the bar really high for Americans who had every reason to expect the 20 million they promised. They told us we were going to get 600,000 not 300,000."

Walz and Malcolm agreeing if they had more of the vaccine, more people would be getting it right now.

"The thought of a faster pace of getting a vaccine in Minnesota would be wonderful," Malcolm said. "It's great that we have so many people eager to get vaccinated."

While health leaders say its the start of the end of the pandemic, they're also urging a familiar plea: patience.

"That sense of normalcy is returning, but there is a lot to be done," Walz said.

"Today is a reason to get very excited. I will continue to push as hard as I can to get these vaccines out to folks," he added.

The first tier of phase of the 1A group should be finished vaccinated by the end of the week. The entire phase 1A group is expected to be vaccinated by the end of January.

The Minnesota Health Department says an interactive website displaying vaccine allocations will be available to the public by early next week.

Beret Leone

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