COVID-19 vaccination information for state agency employees

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Dear state agency employees,

With the new year comes exciting news of the COVID-19 vaccine beginning to be distributed. We know this creates a lot of questions about what to expect for yourself and for your colleagues. Here is an update on vaccination information for state agency employees.

There is a very limited supply of vaccine and it will be distributed following the CDC guidance. The first goal is to get limited doses to the most vulnerable or exposed persons, what the CDC calls Phase 1a. This is primarily healthcare workers, emergency medical service workers, and people living and working in long-term care settings.  

Minnesota Management and Budget, working with the Minnesota Department of Health, is leading the coordination of and communication about distributing the vaccine to state agency employees. State agency employees will be eligible for the vaccine based on where they fall within the phases established in the CDC guidance.

Employees in the Phase 1a category are getting the vaccine now

Specific employees at the following agencies are in the first phase to receive the vaccine. Employees in these groups will receive information from their agency with instructions and details about the vaccine distribution.

  • Department of Corrections – Healthcare workers in Phase 1a
  • Department of Health – Staff in Phase 1a
  • Department of Human Services – Staff in Phase 1a, primarily those in skilled nursing and long-term care facilities, and group homes
  • Department of Public Safety – Staff in Phase 1a
  • Department of Veterans Affairs – Healthcare workers in Phase 1a

Employees in Phase 1b and 1c categories will be eligible to get the vaccine in the next few months

CDC recommends in Phase 1b and Phase 1c the vaccination should be offered to people in the following groups:

  • Phase 1b: Frontline essential workers, including educators and child care workers, police, firefighters, utility workers, corrections officers, and public transportation employees. People aged 75 years and older are also in this group.
  • Phase 1c: This includes adults with underlying conditions that put them at significantly higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease or death. Older adults and other essential workers are also included in this group.

Neither MMB nor your agency will be collecting age or health information about you for the purposes of developing a list for vaccination priority. If you believe you are eligible for Phase 1b or Phase 1c based on your age or health condition, we encourage you to work directly with your healthcare provider to determine whether you can get the vaccine there. If you wish to get the vaccine through a workplace or state-sponsored clinic during Phase 1b or Phase 1c, you will have to show proof of eligibility.

State agency employees not in the early phases will be eligible to get the vaccine this spring/summer

The CDC has not addressed vaccine distribution beyond Phase 1. We will continue following CDC distribution guidance as it is developed. We expect the general public, including employees not in the early phase categories, will have access to the vaccine in late spring to summer of 2021. We plan to offer COVID-19 vaccine clinics, but employees also can obtain the vaccine through their healthcare provider or other publicly available distribution sites.

  • Do I have to get the vaccine? The CDC recommends the vaccine for people ages 16 and older. At this time, there will be no enterprise-wide policy requiring all employees to get the vaccine. Some agencies or divisions may create their own policy requiring employees to get the vaccine based on the nature of the work or funding requirements.
  • When will I be able to get the vaccine if I’m not in Phase 1? Timing is guided by CDC priority level recommendations and how much vaccine Minnesota has in its supply. We will develop a schedule and process and you will receive information through your agency.
  • Where can I get the vaccine through the State? We expect to offer the vaccine at agency locations or at state-sponsored clinics. You may have to drive up to 60 miles to get the vaccine through an agency or state-sponsored clinic. 
  • Can I get the vaccine from my healthcare provider? Probably. Check with your healthcare provider.
  • I think I qualify to get the vaccine sooner. Check with your healthcare provider if you believe you may qualify to get the vaccine in one of the early phases based on your age or health condition.
  • Will the vaccine be free to state agency employees? Yes.

For more information

What we can all do now

While we wait for everyone to have the opportunity to get vaccinated, it’s important each of us stay diligent with our safety measures. Please continue to use good hand-washing hygiene, keep your distance, get tested if you are experiencing symptoms, avoid large gatherings, and wear your mask in public. If you are currently teleworking, plan on continuing to do so until later this summer.