Updated: July 12, 2021 05:16 PM
Created: July 12, 2021 04:35 PM
(ABC 6 News) - Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced Friday the state will begin to close all but one state-run vaccination site. He said the state has reached its goal of 70 percent of those 18 and older being vaccinated.
Local health officials said this news can be interpreted in a few ways. State sites closing is a sign of progress, but they said, it also means the demand for vaccinations has stalled.
"There's not the demand for the vaccine so having multiple sites and vaccination sites just isn't needed. We don't have that many people that want to get vaccinated right now," Director of Olmsted County Public Health Graham Briggs said.
He said most people who wanted to be vaccinated have been.
"At the same time, we want to respect people who decide they don't want to get a shot because that choice is ultimately up to them," Briggs said.
The state health department's director of infectious disease, Kris Ehresmann, said by closing these sites, the state is basically downsizing to match lower demand for vaccinations.
"It just seems like now was the time to really wind down this part of our response. We're not seeing much demand at these sites so we want to make sure we're using our resources wisely as well," Ehresmann said.
While the state-run sites are closing, Briggs said it doesn't necessarily mean the pandemic is over.
"Part of it is that things are slowing down here and ending here, but that doesn't mean the pandemic is over until the WHO declares it's over," Briggs said.
Briggs said, someday when the World Health Organization formally declares the pandemic has been isolated, we can consider this all behind us.
"Unfortunately I don't think we've seen the end of the pandemic in this county, we've just seen the end of the emergency response," Briggs said.
Gov. Walz said there will still be plenty of opportunities for Minnesotans to be vaccinated going forward.
He said, "We will continue our collaboration with diverse partnerships to equitably distribute vaccines in every community and every corner of this state."
The sites at the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport will still be there through the beginning of August. Once those state-run vaccination sites are gone, Minnesotans can still be vaccinated by their own doctor or at a local pharmacy.
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