With a fourth COVID-19 vaccine nearing approval for use in the U.S., vaccination rates are expected to accelerate -- helping to push things nearer to normal across Minnesota and the rest of the country.

In addition to vaccines by Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson -- the fourth (and soon to be approved) vaccine from AstraZeneca is said to be 79% effective cases of COVID-19, and 100% effective in preventing the most severe cases requiring hospitalization.

Who Can Get Vaccinated in Minnesota (and Who's Next)?

The first wave of vaccine eligible Minnesotans included health care workers and long-term care residents. The second phase of vaccinations included educators and adults 65-and-older. The third phase included Minnesotans with specific underlying health conditions, targeted essential workers, and individuals with rare conditions or disabilities that put them at higher risk.

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The fourth and most recent phase added the following people to the list of those who can currently get vaccinated in Minnesota:

  • People age 45 and older with ONE or more underlying medical conditions; or, age 16 and over with TWO or more underlying medical conditions:
    • Active cancer
    • Chronic kidney disease
    • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
    • Diabetes - Type 1 or 2
    • Down Syndrome
    • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
    • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant, HIV, bone marrow disease, chronic steroids for more than 30 days, immunodeficiency disease, or taking immunosuppressive medications
    • Obesity - body mass index (BMI) greater than 30 kg/m2
    • Pregnancy
    • Sickle cell disease
  • People 50+ in multi-generational housing.
  • Essential frontline workers: Agricultural, airport staff, additional child care workers not previously eligible, correctional settings, first responders, food production, food retail, food service, judicial system workers, manufacturing, public health workers, public transit, Postal Service workers.

The Next Vaccine Phase(s)

  • 16+ with any underlying medical condition (see above list).
  • Age 50-64 (regardless of health condition).
  • All other essential workforces: Transportation and logistics, finance, housing/shelter construction, IT/communications, energy, media, legal, public safety, water, and wastewater.

The State of Minnesota's COVID-19 Vaccine Connector is a tool that notifies Minnesotans when, where, and how to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

What About The Rest of Us?

The Minnesota Department of Health says by early May every Minnesotan who wants a shot should be able to get one!

Everybody, let's do a shot!

LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.

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