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COVID boosters now available for all Minnesotans over 18

Friday's announcement means approximately 1.7 million adults who have not yet received a booster are now eligible.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Governor Tim Walz announced Friday that all Minnesotans aged 18 years or older are now officially eligible to receive a COVID-19 booster shot.

The announcement came on the same day the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) opened booster shots for all adults nationwide.

"We will always prioritize the safety of Minnesotans—and right now, in the middle of a surge in cases, that means opening up booster doses to all adults,” said Walz. “Cases are rising, community spread is high, and Minnesotans are moving indoors for the winter as the weather gets colder and the holidays approach. Health officials and researchers agree that booster shots help increase protection against COVID-19."

The latest COVID data collected by the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) shows both case numbers and hospitalizations skyrocketing, with over 5,000 newly reported cases Friday, and more than 1,400 Minnesotans currently being treated in hospitals around the state. This, as families begin to plan gatherings over the holidays.

RELATED: Minnesota hospitals are as full now as they were in late 2020

“Boosters are an important part of keeping protection against COVID-19 high in adults and helping to mitigate some of the intense COVID-19 spread we are seeing right now, which is extremely important given our tight hospital capacity,” said Department of Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm. “Boosters are not our only way through this surge. We need all Minnesotans to continue using multiple strategies to prevent the spread of COVID, such as masking, testing, and social distancing."

Additionally, Malcolm says if you haven't gotten your initial vaccine series yet, now is the time.

"Getting your initial vaccination series is still critical as well, and now getting your booster when you’re due is another layer of protection,” she said.

RELATED: High demand for vaccines in Minnesota after 5- to 11-year-olds become eligible

Over 7.5 million doses of the vaccine have been put into the arms of Minnesotans, but officials say only about 64% have completed the series and are considered completely vaccinated.

Friday's announcement means approximately 1.7 million adults who have not yet received a booster are now eligible. National data shows Minnesota is second only to Vermont in booster coverage, with 26% of fully vaccinated adults having already received the third shot.

Minnesotans who wish to get a booster shot can visit the state's vaccine finder for a provider in their area. Worth noting, recent studies show it's safe and effective to receive a booster vaccine that differs from a person's original vaccine series.