Gov. Walz urges Minnesotans to get new flu, COVID-19 vaccines

(KSTP) – Governor Tim Walz hoped to get both a flu shot and a COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday but had to settle for just a flu shot as the new COVID vaccine is not yet widely available in Minnesota. 

“It’s always a great idea this time of year,” the governor said just after rolling up his sleeve and getting a flu shot just outside his office at the State Capitol. “Get these vaccines. In the case of the COVID vaccine, it reduces the severity of the symptoms, a lot of good studies show that it reduces long-term COVID symptoms we see in long COVID and it reduces viral load which makes it more difficult to pass from one to the other.”

The new COVID vaccine is aimed specifically at the most common variant now circulating in the U.S. It was approved by the FDA last week and is being shipped to pharmacies and clinics now.

“September and October are an ideal time to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Brooke Cunningham, Minnesota’s Health Commissioner. “Now is a great time to make a plan for getting you and your family vaccinated. I’m glad to see the governor making that plan to get his flu shot today…and happy to be here as he puts that plan into action.”

Walz hopes Minnesotans will set politics aside and consult with their healthcare providers.

“We’re recommending you talk to your health care provider, make an informed decision, know what the science is behind this and then continue to do so because there is that piece of reduced viral load, which reduces transmission opportunities again which benefits all of us,” he said.

The cost of the flu shot and COVID vaccine should be covered by health insurance. The free vaccination program offered by the federal government ended when the public health emergency ended in May.

You can find the expiration date for your at-home COVID-19 test here.