COVID-19 Vaccinations for State Employees
Minnesota Management and Budget (MMB), working with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), is leading the coordination of and communication about distributing the vaccine to state agency employees. State agency employees will be eligible for the vaccine based on where they fall within the phases established in the CDC guidance.
There is a very limited supply of vaccine and it will be distributed following the CDC guidance. The first goal is to get limited doses to the most vulnerable or exposed persons, what the CDC calls Phase 1a. This is primarily healthcare workers, emergency medical service workers, and people living and working in long-term care settings.
Employees in the Phase 1a category are getting the vaccine now
Specific employees at the following agencies are in the first phase to receive the vaccine. Employees in these groups will receive information from their agency with instructions and details about the vaccine distribution.
- Department of Corrections – Healthcare workers in Phase 1a
- Department of Health – Staff in Phase 1a
- Department of Human Services – Staff in Phase 1a, primarily those in skilled nursing and long-term care facilities, and group homes
- Department of Public Safety – Staff in Phase 1a
- Department of Veterans Affairs – Healthcare workers in Phase 1a
Employees in Phase 1b and 1c categories will be eligible to get the vaccine in the next few months
CDC recommends in Phase 1b and Phase 1c the vaccination should be offered to people in the following groups:
- Phase 1b: Frontline essential workers, including educators and child care workers, police, firefighters, utility workers, corrections officers, and public transportation employees. People aged 75 years and older are also in this group.
- Phase 1c: This includes adults with underlying conditions that put them at significantly higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease or death. Older adults and other essential workers are also included in this group.
Neither MMB nor your agency will be collecting age or health information about you for the purposes of developing a list for vaccination priority. If you believe you are eligible for Phase 1b or Phase 1c based on your age or health condition, we encourage you to work directly with your healthcare provider to determine whether you can get the vaccine there. If you wish to get the vaccine through a workplace or state-sponsored clinic during Phase 1b or Phase 1c, you will have to show proof of eligibility.
State agency employees not in the early phases will be eligible to get the vaccine this spring/summer
The CDC has not addressed vaccine distribution beyond Phase 1. We will continue following CDC distribution guidance as it is developed. We expect the general public, including employees not in the early phase categories, will have access to the vaccine in late spring to summer of 2021. We plan to offer COVID-19 vaccine clinics, but employees also can obtain the vaccine through their healthcare provider or other publicly available distribution sites.
COVID-19 Vaccination Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can I get the vaccine from my healthcare provider?
A: Probably. Check with your healthcare provider.
Q: Will the vaccine be free to state agency employees?
Q: Will the campus be providing the vaccine to employees or to students?
A: We expect to offer the vaccine at agency locations or at state-sponsored clinics. You may have to drive up to 60 miles to get the vaccine through an agency or state-sponsored clinic.
Q: Is there a difference between a faculty member teaching online vs. on campus and the order in which they will receive the vaccine?
A: At this time, we have not heard of any differentiation based on on-campus or off-campus employee prioritization. We will continue to work with MDH and IHE on prioritization planning.
Q: Can I refuse to get the vaccine or is MinnState making it mandatory for all who enter campuses?
A: The CDC recommends the vaccine for people ages 16 and older. At this time, there will be no enterprise-wide policy requiring all employees to get the vaccine. Some agencies or divisions may create their own policy requiring employees to get the vaccine based on the nature of the work or funding requirements.
Q: Which priority groups university staff and students fall into?
A: Some staff/students will fall into Phase 1a because of work they do in clinical settings or with COVID patients/cases on campus, and some will fall into category 1b because they are 65+, or they are K-12 teachers, or they work in the childcare setting. In general, most staff and students will likely fall into a category that comes after 1b –but that is still to be determined.
Q: When will I be able to get the vaccine if I’m not in Phase 1?
A: Timing is guided by CDC priority level recommendations and how much vaccine Minnesota has in its supply. We will develop a schedule and process and you will receive information through your agency.
Q: I think I qualify to get the vaccine sooner.
A: Check with your healthcare provider if you believe you may qualify to get the vaccine in one of the early phases based on your age or health condition.
Q: Who is helping to coordinate the identification of students and staff who fall into Phase 1a priorities?
A: Human Resources has been identified as the college COVID-19 Vaccination Coordinator contact. They are working with the Local Department of Public Health (LPH) to create a survey and a tracking document to identify eligible students, staff, and faculty that would fall into the Phase 1a priorities. LPH and the college COVID Vaccination Coordinator contact will develop a strategy and process for vaccination. Note: There is no guarantee that vaccines will be available at this time. Eligible students, staff and faculty that fall into the Phase 1a category will be contacted by Human Resources for next steps.
Q: When will State agency employees not in the early phases be eligible to get the vaccine?
A: Per the MDH and CDC, State agency employees not in the early phases will be eligible to get the vaccine this spring/summer. However, the CDC has not addressed vaccine distribution beyond Phase 1. We will continue following CDC distribution guidance as it is developed. We expect the general public, including employees not in the early phase categories, will have access to the vaccine in late spring to summer of 2021. We plan to offer COVID-19 vaccine clinics, but employees also can obtain the vaccine through their healthcare provider or other publicly available distribution sites.
Q: How are other campus staff- such as school nurse, custodial or security employees - being prioritized?
A: There is some room for staff under the 1a if they are working with or interacting with infected students (such as staff that clean isolation rooms). Other staff would include your Health Services staff that may be collecting specimens and evaluating patients with suspect COVID-19.
Q: Why are K-12 educators prioritized over IHE educators-again given our population is the age group with the highest infection rate?
A: In higher education you can control the environment. We are seeing little to no transmission through IHE classrooms. When you’re in an environment with K-12- students, especially younger students, they are less likely to comply with masking and they are not always able to keep six-foot social distance from each other or even the teachers. Teachers in K-12 (especially K-5) are at a slightly elevated risk just through the nature of their jobs. By vaccinating teachers and ensuring that students can return to school, also allows parents of those younger kids to return to work as many have not been able to work or work to their full capacity due to a lack of child care and needing to be home to help.
Q: If I receive the vaccine and have a fever the next day, can I still come to campus?
A: No. Even if you have received the vaccination, but you have symptoms such as a fever, cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, etc., you must stay at home and isolate for 10 days. CDC isolation information and CDC COVID-19 symptom information can be found online.
Q: Do vaccinated Minnesota State faculty, staff, and students have to continue wearing a mask?
A: Yes. All faculty, staff, and students at all Minnesota State colleges, universities, and the system office are required to wear a mask, social distance for at least six-feet, and continue hand washing protocols until further notice. Not enough information is currently available to say if or when CDC will stop recommending that people wear masks and avoid close contact with others to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.
Additional Vaccination Resources
For additional answers to common frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccinations for state employees, please visit the Minnesota Management and Budget website for up-to-date information. The answers to some of these questions will evolve with time. Please check back often to get the most up-to-date information.
Additional COVID-19 vaccine distribution information in Minnesota and COVID-19 response can be found on the Minnesota COVID-19 Response website.