ST. PAUL — Minnesota is on track to vaccinate 70% of its population of adults 16 and older against the coronavirus before the Fourth of July, Gov. Tim Walz told President Joe Biden and fellow governors on Tuesday, May 11.

The first-term Democratic governor joined a White House roundtable to discuss strategies for getting more Americans vaccinated against COVID-19. And he noted that the state was approaching that threshold by making available data about the vaccination, bringing in third-party groups like community leaders and physicians to promote the vaccines and rolling out mobile clinics and pop-up events that could increase access to the shots.

"We are at 64% of your goal, Mr. President, we will be there," Walz said. "But all of us know that this is going to be a little longer process but folks are coming along."

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Walz and state health officials last week said that they would lift the state's mask mandate on July 1 or earlier if the state was able to vaccinate 70% of Minnesotans 16 and older before that date. And additional COVID-19 mitigation measures including social distancing requirements and capacity limits on indoor venues like restaurants and bars are set to lift later this month.

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"This idea of getting it out there and getting it into arms has real-world consequences," Walz said.

The governor and other leaders on the virtual call said they were working to highlight milestones such as hugging a grandparent or attending a wedding that could become safer for Americans who get vaccinated. They also said they continued to make available vaccinations for those who have been too busy to get them.


Other leaders on the call said they'd started offering free fishing and hunting licenses to motivate residents to get vaccinated and had started opening mobile clinics and pop-up clinics to make vaccinations more readily available.

Biden on Tuesday announced that ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft would offer free transportation for individuals going to and from vaccination appointments. The president also credited the governors and other local leaders for the successful rollout of vaccination programs in their regions.

"Governors in so many states, and particularly the six that are here, have been essential in this effort," Biden said. "And they know it isn't about politics, it's about saving lives and livelihoods, rebuilding our economy and getting us back to our way of life."

Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter @bydanaferguson, call 651-290-0707 or email