Reactions Vary Widely As Vaccine Eligibility Expands

People have mixed reactions to the announcement, from elation to frustration, Jennifer Mayerle reports (2:10). WCCO 4 News At 6 - March 26, 2021

Video Transcript

FRANK VASCELLARO: Minnesota is out front in the race to vaccinate as many people as possible.

AMELIA SANTANIELLO: Today, Governor Tim Walz announced that anyone 16 and older could get a COVID-19 vaccine starting next week. Walz stressed that even though a lot more people will be eligible, providers will still prioritize older Minnesotans, those with frontline jobs, and anyone with underlying health conditions.

TIM WALZ: I, quite honestly, understand some of those frustrations of waiting in line, but I have to tell you, I'm OK that people are excited about getting this thing.

FRANK VASCELLARO: People have mixed reaction to the announcement from elation to frustration. The response depends on what group you're in. WCCO's Jennifer Mayerle has reaction to the announcement.

JENNIFER MAYERLE: College senior, Kristalyn Neary, has been distance learning all year, even though Gustavus is hybrid.

KRISTALYN NEARY: I am fully online. I am immunocompromised. I haven't yet qualified for the vaccine.

JENNIFER MAYERLE: The 21-year-old says the expanded vaccine eligibility makes her hopeful she'll be able to get a dose and graduate in person.

KRISTALYN NEARY: That's the big hope is to be able to walk across that stage. Worked hard for four years.

JENNIFER MAYERLE: Many are thinking about what comes after getting the shot. Blue Plate Restaurant Company held a vaccine event for more than hundreds of their employees Friday, grateful to have it completed before eligibility changes.

STEPHANIE SHIMP: To have that peace of mind, knowing that they are also on the front lines in a different way than teachers and nurses, but we deal with the public every day.

- Here's your card.

- Thank you. I feel very fortunate to get it, just to be able to protect my family.

- Hopefully, we're on the way towards everyone kind of getting that herd immunity.

JENNIFER MAYERLE: But opening eligibility to 16 and over isn't a welcome change for everyone. Some people are expressing frustration around the announcement, sharing their thoughts on social media. An essential worker called it stupid, another wondered why, while Amber pointed out, current groups can't find appointments. Another tweeted, looking out for priority groups saying, just having trouble seeing how that will be done with this change. Jennifer Mayerle, WCCO 4 News.

FRANK VASCELLARO: Again, providers will still prioritize specific groups that are at risk. All Minnesotans 16 and older will become eligible on Tuesday, March 30.