Less than 50% of Minnesota seniors have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine

On Thursday, February 25rd, Governor Walz announced that the state will not expand vaccine eligibility until a good number of seniors receive the COVID-19 vaccine. According to MPR

Walz said the state wouldn’t expand eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines until at least 70 percent of residents age 65 and older get a first dose — a threshold officials expect to reach by the end of March.

Once that threshold has been met, Minnesota will open vaccinations to others based on underlying health conditions and workplace exposure risk, including some 45,000 employees working at Minnesota food processing plants.

We have known for a while, that our elderly population is the most vulnerable. In Minnesota, nearly 90% of all COVID-19 deaths have been among the elderly. Yet the elderly account for only 15% of our population. In fact, out of the 12 deaths reported today, none are among people aged under 65. Prioritizing vaccines for the elderly is, therefore, common sense. But even without the expanding eligibility, Walz’s current plan does not prioritize the elderly.

According to data from the Minnesota Department of Health, currently, people aged 65+ have received a little less than 50% of all vaccines administered in Minnesota. In contrast, the majority of vaccines have gone to people aged under 65. And out of the total elderly population, only 43% have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Source: Minnesota Department of Health

This is, additionally, not something we can blame on supply. Up to date, Minnesota has administered about 1,200,000 vaccines. The elderly make up a little over 900,000 of Minnesota’s population. This is significantly less than the total number of vaccines. If the state had focused on the elderly, 100% would have had at least one dose.