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Minnesota sees surge in COVID-19 vaccinations

Plus: Walz calls approval of one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine a “game-changer”; traffic stop in Wadena County leaves two dead, sheriff’s deputy wounded; Hennepin County to be first county in Minnesota to implement Climate Action Plan; and more.

MPR also reports: “Minnesota health officials are reporting a record single-day increase in COVID-19 vaccinations, with Saturday’s update showing more than 56,000 additional doses administered to state residents. The previous record daily high was just over 44,000. The increase was driven by a surge in initial doses of the two-shot vaccination regimen, as weather-delayed vaccine finally made its way to Minnesota and was distributed around the state.”

WCCO-TV reports: “The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday authorized Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use. The vaccine is the third to be approved for use in the United States, and the first that requires only one shot. The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) voted unanimously to approve the vaccine by Janssen, a division of Johnson & Johnson, on Friday. The committee provides expert advice to the FDA but does not have final say on approval. Gov. Tim Walz praised the development Saturday evening, and said the one-dose vaccine will be a ‘game-changer.’”

MPR’s Andrew Krueger reports: “Two people are dead and a sheriff’s deputy hospitalized after an attempted traffic stop ended in gunfire Saturday night in Wadena County. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the incident — the third fatal police shooting in the state in less than a week.”

The Star Tribune’s David Channen writes: “Hennepin County is on the verge of playing a larger role in curbing global climate change, rolling out hundreds of new strategies aimed at driving down greenhouse gas emissions across the county. … The county is finalizing a 59-page Climate Action Plan that includes more than 200 strategies to reduce climate change as new research shows that the area’s climate is getting wetter and that low temperatures in winter are getting warmer. Hennepin would be the first Minnesota county committing to a formal climate action plan, joining a growing number of counties across the country adopting similar measures.”

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WCCO-TV’s David Shuman reports: “Dozens of people learned this week a mistake was made with their first COVID vaccine shots, and now they don’t know what comes next. Dick Cecchini received his dose Tuesday at a Hy-Vee pharmacy in Mankato, more than an hour from his Lakeville home. He received a phone call from Hy-Vee the next morning letting him know of a problem. The pharmacy says 62 patients received first doses of the Pfizer vaccine that were diluted with sterile water instead of the saline provided by Pfizer. …He learned Friday there was no reason for medical concern.”

The Associated Press reports: “The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Saturday that a Duluth man who fatally shot a police dog and engaged in a nearly 20-hour standoff with authorities was shot and killed by law enforcement. David Joseph Wayne Conwell, 37, died Friday from multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office. His death was ruled a homicide. The BCA said he was shot by members of the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Response Team….”