Minnesota’s first shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine arrived across the state Monday morning, as part of what will be the largest vaccination campaign in U.S. history.
Gov. Tim Walz was at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System at around 9 a.m. when the medical center received a shipment of the Pfizer vaccine, the first coronavirus vaccine to be authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration. The shipment included about 3,000 doses, per Walz.
Minnesota is expected to receive 46,800 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, reports the New York Times. Pending approval of the Moderna vaccine later this week, Minnesota is slated to receive 136,600 additional doses by the end of December.
“This is the day we’ve all been waiting for,” Walz said at the hospital.
Both vaccines require two rounds of shots spaced between three and four weeks apart, and some must be stored at extremely cold temperatures, according to NPR. Per the state’s vaccine rollout plan, first doses will be given to health care providers and those in long-term care facilities.
Initial vaccinations are expected to occur next week after emergency use training is complete, according to KARE 11. A critical care nurse in New York received the first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination in the U.S. Monday morning.
The Minnesota Department of Health identified 25 “hub” sites across the state that will receive the vaccine shipments via the national vaccine distribution chain.
Olmsted Medical Center received its first shipment of the vaccine Monday morning, which included around 975 doses, reports KIMT. Other hospitals have or will receive shipments by the end of the day Monday.
Though Minnesota has seen a dip in new COVID-19 cases in recent days, metro area hospital beds are still near capacity. More than 4,000 COVID-19 deaths have been recorded in the state since the pandemic began.