Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

A vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine thaws. (File photo/southernminn.com)

Nicollet County Health and Human Services has received its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine and is working with community partners and the state health department to start vaccinating priority populations.

The COVID-19 vaccine is rolling out in a phased approach due to a limited number of doses available. More doses will continuously be made and distributed, but county staff cautions that it will take time and be a fluid situation. Timing of vaccination administration will vary from county to county due to a differing number of individuals requiring vaccines in each community.

The first people who are receiving the COVID-19 vaccine are those with the highest risk of getting infected: front-line health care workers and adults in long-term care facilities. As more COVID-19 vaccines become available, more people will be offered vaccinations. The next priority group includes individuals who are 75 and older and essential workers. Our agency is testing clinic formats, including in person and drive-thru options, keeping in mind community safety, privacy and efficiency.

More details about the plans for vaccination priority groups and the model of delivery will be shared as they become available. Please refer to Nicollet County’s Facebook page and website, as well as the St. Peter Herald for regular updates.

Studies show that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine are 95% and 94.5% effective, respectively, in preventing COVID-19. With these two vaccines, people will need two doses about a month apart for full protection. After the second dose, it will take about two weeks for your body to build up protection. Initially, these vaccines will be for adults only because we need more data on the use in children. Additional trials are coming to determine how the vaccines may work for those younger age groups.

Ultimately, all Minnesotans will have an opportunity to be vaccinated.

Although the increasing availability of effective coronavirus vaccines suggests there may finally be a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, this is no time to let down your guard. While COVID-19 vaccines are effective in preventing COVID-19, you should continue to follow other prevention protocols already in place:

• Wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth.

• Stay at least 6 feet apart from other people.

• Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol.

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