Rice County Public Health continues to work with the Minnesota Department of Health and local hospital and pharmacy partners to complete vaccination for those in the first phase (Phase 1a) of the state’s vaccine prioritization.
Vaccinations for most individuals in Phase 1a first and second priority groups in Rice County have been completed, and we are now working on the third priority group in Phase 1a. This includes healthcare staff unable to telework, including but not limited to those working in home health, emergency shelters, dental offices, pharmacies, mental health/behavioral health settings, correctional settings and group homes, as well as adult residents in congregate residential settings such as assisted livings, group homes and adult foster care settings.
MDH recently announced more flexibility as doses become available, including offering vaccinations for those over 65 years of age. MDH’s position follows significant changes recently in federal guidance on vaccine distribution.
Rice County Public Health currently does not have doses available for individuals 65 years and older. Once we have vaccines available, we will inform the public through public announcements and media channels. We do NOT have a waitlist for vaccines. Please do not call to be asked to be put on a wait list.
To date, Rice County Public Health has received 500 doses for first vaccinations, and those vaccines have all been administered. We too are patiently waiting for more vaccines to arrive.
The state and federal government drive the vaccine delivery process and timeline. Vaccine rollout is happening differently in states, based on federal guidelines that each state adapts based on capacity and supplies in that state.
More information about the Minnesota Guidance for Allocating and Prioritizing COVID -19 Vaccine can be found on the MDH website at https://www.health.state.mn.us/diseases/coronavirus/vaccine/plan.html
As a reminder, vaccines can reduce deaths and serious illness, but they are just one tool in the toolbox to conquer this pandemic. We will need everyone, whether vaccinated or not, to continue to follow public health measures to help stop disease spread including wearing a mask, socially distancing, washing your hands, following guidance for isolation and quarantine, and staying home if you are sick.
Deb Purfeerst, Rice County Public Health Director (507)332-6111
Sara Folsted, Rice County Administrator (507) 332-6121