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Coronavirus in Minnesota: Federal government expected to recommend vaccine booster shots

As of Tuesday the state had not gotten any official communication from the federal government regarding additional shots.

Photo: CDC/Alissa Eckert

MinnPost provides weekly updates on coronavirus in Minnesota on Tuesdays that cover COVID-19 in Minnesota from the previous Wednesday to present. 

This week in COVID-19 news

The federal government is expected to recommend an additional COVID-19 vaccine dose for those in the general population who received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, the New York Times reported. The third dose would come eight months after the second shot, and would likely be offered to nursing home residents, those working in health care and emergency workers first. The process could begin as early as September, per the Times. It would have to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

The Times reported officials also expect Johnson & Johnson recipients to need an additional dose but are waiting on trial data.

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The CDC announced Friday it was recommending a third COVID-19 jab for people who are immunocompromised and received either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine. People who are immunocompromised do not develop strong antibody response to vaccines and so are at higher risk of developing severe disease.

Kris Ehresmann, infectious disease director for the Minnesota Department of Health, said Tuesday that the state has not gotten any communication from the feds on additional doses for the general population.

For now, she said “Last week’s update does not change recommendations for those who are not immunocompromised, including fully vaccinated people who are otherwise healthy.”

Minnesota announced Tuesday that schools will be given resources to create free, in-school COVID-19 testing programs, which they are encouraged to do. Based on current levels of community transmission, it’s recommended that unvaccinated school-age kids and school staff be tested for COVID-19 weekly during the school year. People who are vaccinated should get tested if they have symptoms or were exposed to someone with COVID-19. More information here.


Data from the Minnesota Department of Health show the state added 8,763 new COVID-19 cases in the seven days between Aug. 11 and Aug. 18, for an average of 1,252 new cases per day. That’s up from an 800 new case daily average the week prior. At the height of the pandemic in late November of 2020, Minnesota averaged more than 7,000 new cases per day.

The most recent seven-day case positivity average — or the average share of positive cases out of total COVID-19 tests — has crossed the 5 percent threshold that is considered a concerning sign to public health officials. It is now at 5.2 percent, up from 4.9 percent the week prior. You can find the seven-day case positivity average here.

The most recent data on breakthrough infections — those confirmed in fully vaccinated people — show 7,171 breakthrough infections, representing roughly 0.24 percent of fully vaccinated people. There have been 584 breakthrough hospitalizations, representing 0.02 percent of fully-vaccinated people. Sixty fully vaccinated people have died, representing 0.002 percent of fully-vaccinated people.

Deaths and hospitalizations

Minnesota added 32 new COVID-19 deaths in the last week, up from 27 the week prior.  (Deaths did not necessarily occur in the week in which they were reported because deaths are not always reported and confirmed immediately.)

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COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to rise in Minnesota. As of Tuesday, 115 people are in intensive care with COVID-19, while 319 are hospitalized and not in intensive care. Last Tuesday, 92 were in intensive care and 241 were hospitalized and not in intensive care. More information on Minnesota’s current hospitalizations here.


The most recent data show 58.5 percent of Minnesotans, (3.25 million people), had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while 54.8 percent of Minnesotans (3.05 million people) had completed the vaccine series. A week ago, 57.8 percent of Minnesotans had received at least one dose and 54.4 had completed the vaccine series. More data on the state’s vaccination efforts can be found here.

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