St. Louis County Public Health message for 1a-eligible individuals about vaccinations

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Public Health & Human Services Dept. • 320 West Second Street, Suite 605 • Duluth, MN 55802
Phone: (218) 726-2096 •

Linnea Mirsch



January 11, 2021

CONTACT: Dana Kazel, Communications Manager

218-725-5049 (office) • 218-591-2219 (cell)


St. Louis County Public Health reaching out to ensure Priority 1a for COVID vaccinations aren't overlooked

As St. Louis County Public Health moves through its third week of administering COVID-19 vaccines to individuals in the highest priority group, it's reaching out to ensure no eligible individual has been overlooked. 


Those eligible to be vaccinated now include EMS certified personnel, as well as staff in urgent care facilities or dialysis centers. Additionally, residents and staff of skilled nursing facilities, long term care and assisted living facilities can receive the vaccination now. These groups are categorized by the Minnesota Department of Health as Phase 1a Priority 1 or 2. 


St. Louis County has also started collecting information for organizations that are categorized as Phase 1a Priority 3. This will allow for faster notification and scheduling when the next phase of vaccinations can begin. Organizations in this group include:  adult foster care, ambulatory clinic, community residential setting, correctional setting, dental office, emergency shelter, funeral home, group home, home health care, intermediate care facility, mental/behavioral health setting, pharmacy, public health clinic, residential care facility. Other EMS personnel not already included in Priority 1, and school nurses also fall within this category. Phase 1a Priority 3 vaccinations are for staff at organizations in these categories who are unable to telework.


Some of these organizations may already have vaccination arrangements with a hospital or pharmacy. Public Health is one of three health systems administering COVID-19 vaccines. Any employer whose staff qualifies for vaccines during the Priority 1a phase who has not already been contacted by St. Louis County Public Health or one of these other systems is encouraged to register online at


In administering vaccines, St. Louis County Public Health is following three guiding principles. These include vaccinating for impact to decrease morbidity and mortality, ensuring equitable distribution, and maintaining transparency throughout the process.


"We are working through these priority groups as quickly as we can and want to ensure that no one is inadvertently overlooked," said Amy Westbrook, St. Louis County Public Health Division Director. "We know a lot of people are interested in being vaccinated. Unfortunately, we don't yet know how soon we will have sufficient vaccine supply to move to the 1b group or beyond, so we have not started a registration process or waiting list for anyone other than those in Priority 1a categories."


St. Louis County is following the guidance of the Minnesota Department of Health in identifying priority groups. Local and state public health teams in Minnesota are working in coordination to ensure vaccine roll-out and distribution is as equitable as possible.


More information about the vaccine, including safety information and how it's being distributed, can be found on the MDH website.