Minnesota COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Advisory Group
The initial limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine means there isn't currently enough for everyone who needs it. Until there is enough for everyone, it makes sense to distribute the limited supply in a way that saves the most lives and puts us on a path to ending the crisis brought on by the pandemic as quickly as possible.
That's why Minnesota is following federal recommendations to start with the people who are most likely to get COVID-19 and those most at risk of serious complications.
To help figure out how to do that in a fair and equitable way, the State of Minnesota formed the COVID-19 Vaccine Allocation Advisory Group in September 2020. The group includes experts from across the state who review guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) about who should get the vaccine first, and makes detailed recommendations for how to apply the guidelines in Minnesota.
The Minnesota advisory group is made up of statewide representatives of leading care providers; bioethicists; state, local, and tribal public health representatives; health care associations; and people representing diverse community groups. Advisory group members were identified by MDH staff in consultation with MDH leadership, the Governor's office, and other advisory group members based on areas of expertise that were needed for providing input on vaccine allocation.
The group is guided by four principles:
- Maximize benefits and minimize harms: Protect the population's health by reducing mortality and serious morbidity.
- Promote justice: Respect people and groups and promote solidarity and mutual responsibility.
- Mitigate health inequities: Strive for fairness and protect against systematic unfairness and inequity.
- Promote transparency: Respond to needs respectfully, fairly, effectively, and efficiently in ways that are accountable, transparent, and worthy of trust.
The advisory group provided input for how to distribute the very first vaccine doses that went to health care workers and long-term care residents (referred to as "phase 1a"). That input can be found in Minnesota Guidance for Allocating and Prioritizing COVID-19 Vaccine – Phase 1a on COVID-19 Vaccine Phases and Planning.
Then, on Dec. 20, 2020, the ACIP recommended the next doses of COVID-19 vaccine, after those that are going to health care workers and long-term care residents, should be offered to:
- Frontline essential workers and people age 75 years and older (referred to as "phase 1b").
- People age 65-74 years, people age 16-64 years with high-risk medical conditions, and other essential workers (referred to as "phase 1c").
The Minnesota advisory group will meet again soon to review the federal recommendations and provide input on how to implement them in Minnesota. The final decisions about how to distribute COVID-19 vaccine ultimately come from Governor Tim Walz.
Though there are many factors to consider, Governor Walz – as he has from the beginning of the pandemic – closely reviews the advice of the experts on these decisions. The goal remains equitable distribution of the limited vaccine supply in a way that has the most significant impact on health.
The feedback form for the next advisory group meeting on Jan. 11 has closed. The form will be available again before future advisory group meetings.
The advisory group meets as needed. The next meeting will be scheduled soon.
At this time, the meetings themselves are not public to provide space for candid conversations and consideration of a variety of viewpoints. Official group recommendations are public and are posted on the MDH website. Agendas and minutes from meetings will be added when available.