Beginning Tuesday, all Minnesotans 16 and older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Tim Walz’s office said on Thursday.
Walz will announce on Friday the eligibility expansion, a spokesman confirmed.
Minnesota Health Department officials said Thursday that they expect a major expansion of vaccine doses the first week in April. That would provide 300,000 state residents their first dose, and an additional 200,000 second dose.
Still, health officials cautioned that vaccines will not be immediately available to everyone who is eligible.
“Continuing to honor a commitment to immunizing for impact, the Walz-Flanagan Administration will be directing providers to prioritize vaccine appointments for older Minnesotans, those with underlying health conditions, and those in frontline jobs,” Walz spokesman Teddy Tschann said in a statement. “Providers will then have the flexibility to provide available appointments to other eligible Minnesotans.”
Minnesota now joins several other states who have expanded access to the vaccine for people 16 and older. President Joe Biden recently said he will direct all states to make the vaccine available to all eligible populations starting May 1.
Minnesota health officials report that more than 878,000 people have completed their vaccine series, and 1.48 million people have received their first dose, according to data through March 23.
Nearly 8 in 10 people 65 and older have been vaccinated, according to state health data.
Since the start of the pandemic, more than 510,000 Minnesotans tested positive for the disease, and 6,814 people have died.