State: Some health systems ignoring vaccine rollout guidance

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Some hospital systems around Minnesota are flouting state and federal guidance on the hierarchy for receiving the coronavirus vaccine, according to health officials.

The Minnesota Department of Health has deputized large health systems to distribute the vaccine as part of a public-private partnership.

Currently the state has prioritized vaccinating people who provide in-person health care services or people living and working in congregate care settings.

But at places like Mayo Clinic, HealthPartners and Allina Health, people who don’t have patient contact or who can work from home are getting vaccinated, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

“The health systems have been far more lenient in vaccinating people than was intended, and that’s concerning,” said Minnesota Department of Health infectious disease director Kris Ehresmann. “We felt like we were pretty clear in the guidance.”

In some cases, people like fitness instructors and construction workers are getting shots, whether they are at high risk of developing a severe case of COVID-19 or not.

State officials said their guidance is clear, that people in those categories shouldn’t be vaccinated yet.

The situation underscores the complexity of the vaccine rollout and raises questions about distribution, access and equity with a limited supply of doses.


(Correction: This story has been corrected to delete an erroneous reference to M Health Fairview as one of the hospital systems vaccinating employees that don’t have patient contact.)