St. Louis County is getting ready to advance their COVID-19 vaccination strategy to the next priority group.  The aim of the St. Louis County Public Health department is to move to the next rung of priority groups by the end of January or early February. The move is similar to one that the State of Wisconsin is taking - as they get ready to advance to the next stage of their priority vaccination groups.

In advance of the evolution, St. Louis County is ramping up vaccinations for those in the Phase 1A priority group.  "The county is striving to have all individuals eligible for Phase 1A registered for a first dose of the vaccine by the end of January."  According to information released by the county , those Phase 1A priority group members include:

  • EMS-certified personnel
  • Urgent care staff
  • Dialysis center staff
  • Skilled-nursing  facilities - both residents and staff
  • Long term care facilities - both residents and staff
  • Assisted living facilities - both residents and staff

Just last week, the Minnesota Department of Health expanded their definition of EMS-certified personnel to now include direct patient care workers, law enforcement, fire fighters, ski patrol, and mine safety workers.

Organizations that are categorized as Phase 1A Priority 3 include:

  • Adult foster care
  • Ambulatory clinic
  • Community residential setting
  • Correctional setting
  • Dental office
  • Emergency shelter
  • Funeral home
  • Group home
  • Home health care
  • Intermediate care facility
  • Mental/behavioral health setting
  • Pharmacy
  • Public health clinic
  • Residential care facility

Additionally, other EMS personnel not already included in Priority 1 and school nurses would also fall within this category.  Phase 1A Priority 3 vaccinations are for staff at organizations in these categories who are unable to telecommute.

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Once these categories have been fulfilled - with an end of January/early February target, St. Louis County will move on to vaccinating those in the broader category Phase 1B.  Anyone who was part of an earlier priority group that missed out on their early classification dates could still obtain a vaccination; however, those vaccinations would be met with less certainty of when that could occur due to continued limited availability of the vaccine. Amy Westbrook - St. Louis County Public Health Division Director explains:

"The vaccine rollout remains a challenge due to the extremely limited amount available.  We remain encouraged to see the strong demand for the vaccine because every dose we administer moves us a step closer to putting this pandemic behind us."

Health officials with St. Louis County are following the guidance of the Minnesota Department of Health in identifying which priority group individuals belong in.  For more details about the states COVID-19 vaccination program, click here.

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