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Pace of COVID-19 vaccinations picks up in Minnesota

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota’s coronavirus vaccination rate has accelerated after several weeks of sluggish inoculation numbers.

The state pace remained above 40,000 shots a day on Sunday, a level not previously seen for more than two weeks.

Data shows a big increase in first vaccine doses which now average nearly 18,000 a day, up from about 10,000 a day a week ago. Some of the increase can likely be attributed to 12- to 15-year-olds who are now eligible for the vaccine.

Minnesota was averaging 60,000 shots a day at one point last month before the numbers began dropping, Minnesota Public Radio News reported.

Officials continue to encourage Minnesotans to keep their guard up during proms, graduations and other spring events, noting that more coronavirus variants are driving new cases across the state.

The state’s largest number of confirmed cases is among people in their 20s, more than 110,000 since the pandemic began. The number of infected high school-age people has also grown, with more than 49,000 15-to-19-year-olds known to be infected during the pandemic.

Experts say young people are less likely to feel the worst effects of the disease, but worry they can spread it unknowingly to older relatives and members of other vulnerable populations.

The latest numbers show about 63% of Minnesotans 16 and older have received at least one vaccine dose and 56% have been fully vaccinated.

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