Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Minnesota health officials say federal stimulus dollars for vaccine distribution will help Minnesotans vaccinated, Caroline Cummings reports (1:55) WCCO 4 News At 5 - April 1, 2021
AMELIA SANTANIELLO: As COVID cases rise in Minnesota, there's a new urgency to get people vaccinated as quickly as possible. Senator Amy Klobuchar and Minnesota health officials say that federal stimulus dollars for vaccine distribution will help make that happen. But as Caroline Cummings reports, there's growing concern about what 15 million spoiled doses of Johnson and Johnson's vaccine will mean for the country's race to beat the pandemic.
KRIS EHRESMANN: Whatever COVID-19 vaccine becomes available to you, please take it when it's your turn.
CAROLINE CUMMINGS: While there are three vaccines approved for use in the US, so far Minnesota's vaccine supply has been largely Pfizer and Moderna, though the single-shot Johnson and Johnson is seen as a game-changer to accelerate rollout.
But after 15 million Johnson and Johnson doses spoiled due to a factory error in Baltimore, there is uncertainty about what that will mean in the country's race to beat another surge. Minnesota officials right now say the problem shouldn't have an impact here.
KRIS EHRESMANN: We're getting our supply from the Netherlands. We're still waiting for confirmation from our CDC colleagues, but our understanding is that that does not affect the supply here.
CAROLINE CUMMINGS: Minnesota, Director of Infectious Diseases Kris Ehresmann, says the state got 30,000 Johnson and Johnson this week and expects 80,000 next week. State officials order a week ahead.
Right now, more than one million Minnesotans are fully vaccinated and more than 1.6 million have at least one dose. But cases are on the rise here, which accelerates the urgency to get as many shots in arms as possible.
The Minnesota Health Department estimates between 50% and 60% of all new cases are from the UK variant.
KRIS EHRESMANN: It's kind of a razor's edge right now, in terms of where we're at. Lots of really good things, and then lots of things that we're watching and we want to be cautious about.
CAROLINE CUMMINGS: Caroline Cummings, WCCO4 News.
AMELIA SANTANIELLO: According to the Minnesota Department of Health, 38% of Minnesotans have had at least one dose of a vaccine.