There are now four COVID vaccines in the advanced stages of trials. It’s still too early to say when a vaccine will be available. But already the subject is generating a lot of questions.
Because the vaccine’s been fast-tracked, is there a possibility it could be harmful? Who gets the vaccine first? How can the state make sure underserved populations are not overlooked? How much will it cost?
At an October health briefing, Kris Ehresmann, Infectious Disease Director at the Minnesota Department of Health, said that safety will be of primary concern.
“We will move forward with a vaccine only when the evidence shows it is safe and effective,” said Ehresmann.
Because initial supplies will be limited, the elderly and those with underlying conditions, as well as healthcare and other essential workers will be given priority.
The vaccine will be rolled out in phases. Some Minnesotans may still find their access to vaccine limited because of mobility, transportation or other issues. Officials are making plans to reach them through programs like drive-through and local community vaccinations. Director Ehresmann also looked at what Minnesotans will be expected to pay for a vaccine.
“The expectation is that vaccine will be provided to Minnesotans at no charge to them,” said Ehresmann.