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Governors Walz, Pawlenty receive J&J vaccine

walz and pawlenty vaccinated

EAGAN, Minn. (KTTC) -- On Tuesday, Governor Tim Walz said Minnesota needs everyone to encourage their families and friends to get vaccinated. That sentiment led him to call his friend, 39th Governor of Minnesota, Republican Tim Pawlenty on the first day that all Minnesotans 16 and older are eligible for a vaccine.

Both were at the Vikings' TCO Performance Center in Eagan to receive the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

While the mood was light and playful on this big day for the state, the messages were serious.

"Getting vaccinated is not just Minnesota nice, it's Minnesota smart," Pawlenty said.

Walz said that there are plenty of avenues for Minnesotans to take to get vaccinated but opportunities must be taken.

"Whatever vaccine is available when your time comes up, that's the best vaccine," said Walz.

Pawlenty stressed this is about more than politics.

"This is not a political issue in any manner. These vaccines are safe," Pawlenty said.

Walz agreed.

When it comes to overall numbers, Minnesota has now administered 2.6 million doses. More than one million residents of the Gopher State have completed their respective vaccine series.

Word came from the White House Tuesday morning that the state's weekly allocation is going up.

"Numbers are going up as predicted," said Walz.

One unknown is how much the J&J supply will increase as more supply is made from the recently approved vaccine.

However, Walz is hopeful that in the next three or four weeks up to 1.5 million Minnesotans will be vaccinated.

Officials continue to urge using COVID-19 safety measures while the state inches closer to the 70-80% fully vaccinated threshold for herd immunity.

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