ST. PAUL — As Minnesota’s fourth COVID-19 wave sends hospitalizations and infection rates surging to levels not seen in the state since late 2020, state health officials are preparing to expand vaccine booster eligibility to all adults this week regardless of whether the federal government approves an expansion of its own.

At a Minnesota Department of Health briefing call Tuesday afternoon, Nov. 16, health commissioner Jan Malcolm said all adults in the state who have completed their vaccine series more than six months ago should be able to get booster vaccine shots by the end of the week.

"Given the alarming surge in COVID cases that Minnesota is facing, with the current caseload we have and as we now head indoors for the winter and gather for the holidays, this booster protection is particularly important," Malcolm said. "We're optimistic that the message from Minnesota and many other states has been heard and that the federal government is close to announcing that expansion."

Federal officials have not yet approved boosters for all adults, but multiple states are considering or have already moved forward with offering vaccines to all residents 18 or older six months after completing their first vaccine series. New York City, Arkansas, California, New Mexico, West Virginia and Colorado and have already moved forward with boosters for all adults.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could give final approval for the booster vaccine for all adults Friday, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

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Malcolm said her agency intends to make it possible for all adults to get a booster shot in the state by the end of the week.

Minnesota announcing its intention to move forward with boosters by the end of the week comes as the state suffers one of the worst surges of coronavirus in the entire country. CDC data issued Tuesday show the seven-day case rate per 100,000 reaching 490 — triple the national average and only trailing Michigan's 503. Minnesota topped the nation in its weekly case rate on Monday.