Several professional groups are urging Governor Tim Walz to put first-responders on the “top priority” list for receiving COVID vaccinations as soon as they become available in Minnesota.   Minnesota State Fire Chiefs Association head John Cunningham says 20 percent of the fire departments in Minnesota have had COVID outbreaks and despite mutual-aid agreements, many departments’ ability to respond to emergencies is on the verge of collapsing:

“The challenge is, the pandemic doesn’t know borders. It doesn’t stop at one community or the next…. Just to say that one community is impacted, it may be impacting multiple departments in an area.”

State Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm says federal guidance is that health care workers and nursing homes have first priority on COVID vaccine:

“Our current understanding is that we are required to follow that federal framework.”