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Olmsted County vaccination progressing at a high pace

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- Olmsted County has vaccinated about 43% of its total population. However, health officials are also looking at a target population or those 16 and older who are cleared to get a shot.

"It's actually about 56% of the population 16 and over that have received a dose of vaccine now," said Olmsted County Public Health Director Graham Briggs. "That leaves about 50,000 people or so still in Olmsted County that need to get vaccinated."

That means the county is currently outpacing the state and country in vaccination rate, a promising sign. The county has been averaging 7,000 - 9,000 doses administered per week.

"If we keep receiving the same amount of vaccine that we are, we are looking at an early-to-mid-May end date for when we've offered a vaccine to everyone that we can," Briggs said.

This is even with the news that Johnson & Johnson will have to throw away 15 million vaccines.

"At this point it would seem it will not affect Minnesota's doses but we are waiting for final confirmation from CDC," said Minnesota Department of Health Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann.

With Minnesota expanding eligibility this week, officials understand there will be frustrations for many who are not able to find an appointment just yet. They continue to urge patience.

Health officials are also anticipating the availability of doses to continue to go up as more vaccines are made. All that gets us one step closer to herd immunity.

"When you talk about herd immunity, we'll see not only are there cases that are happening less that are occurring in certain populations, it's making it harder for the virus to find somebody to jump into every time we vaccinate somebody," Briggs said.

Briggs added that the end of this marathon pandemic is near even though the last few miles always seem to be the hardest.

Zach Fuller

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