Today, Senator Karin Housley (R-Stillwater), Chair of the Senate’s Committee on Aging and Long-Term Care, released her “Seniors 1st” plan and urged Governor Walz to place seniors as the first priority in his updated vaccination plans. The Governor today announced that 35,000 doses of the COVID vaccine would be sent to 100 additional sites across the state, allocated specifically for seniors. It was also announced the nine pilot sites throughout the state will be decreased to three under the Governor’s updated plan.
“Our seniors have to come first,” said Senator Housley. “I will continue to speak up, so our seniors know they are not forgotten. We have 918,000 seniors in our state, and they are at the highest risk for hospitalization, illness, and death from COVID. Distributing 35,000 vaccines is a step in the right direction, but it isn’t nearly enough when we have 98,000 doses being distributed across the state this week. Seniors should be the first and only priority until more vaccine is broadly available.”
As of February 1, there have been over 6,000 COVID-19 deaths in Minnesota. Of those, 90% have been attributed to seniors 65 and older. The state has distributed more than 444,000 vaccines, yet only 25% have been allocated to Minnesotans 65 and older. The “Seniors 1st” plan proposed by Senator Housley would move towards blanketing the entire states with vaccine sites through community pharmacies who are already equipped to store, schedule, and administer vaccinations.
“We need to stop redistributing this vaccine,” continued Senator Housley. “We have pharmacies and doctor’s offices that are prepared to step up so that we can get this vaccine to our seniors. Governor Walz has shown that he doesn’t have a plan that prioritizes our seniors. There has been confusion, disorganization, and reports of wasted doses of vaccines. This rollout has completely failed the very seniors our Governor claims to prioritize. His decisions should reflect that this is a matter of life or death for our most vulnerable Minnesotans. We need to put our seniors first, and we need to get the vaccines directly to them. Anything else is unacceptable.”