PIERRE — South Dakotans want to know when it will be their turn to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
South Dakota Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon said Wednesday during the weekly Department of Health (DOH) news conference that her department gets that question quite frequently these days. She said there are a variety of ways people can learn about when it is their time to get the shot.
As the state has been working through the first three priority groups, most of that outreach has happened directly through the state’s Phase 1 vaccinators — Monument Health, Sanford, Avera, Mobridge Hospital, and Northern Plains Health Network. Each of those vaccinators is responsible for certain counties within the state.
As the state moves into Phase 1D, individuals within that group need to monitor information disseminated by their vaccine provider to learn more about signing up for the shot, Malsam-Rysdon said.
In the Black Hills, that provider is Monument Health.
Scott Peterson, director of pharmacy for Monument Health, said Wednesday said some people included in Phase 1D will be eligible for shots beginning next week — those who are 80 years and older and some high-risk individuals with two or more underlying conditions.
“It’s important to note that this is not all people with two or more underlying conditions, and the health systems are going to subprioritize these groups in order to make sure that we are vaccinating the most important people to be vaccinated inside of that 1D group,” Peterson said.
How will people know when it is their turn?
Peterson encourages people to continue to pay attention to the Monument Health website, the South Dakota Department of Health website, and news sources.
Those 80 and older will be able to make appointments with Monument Health to get vaccinated. People can do it through Monument Health’s healthcare app called My Chart, and in the coming days, a phone line will be made available to take appointments, Peterson said.
Starting Monday, the vaccine providers will move to the 1D group which includes:
• Persons aged 65 years and older (starting with those 80 years of age and older. The age will be lowered in the coming weeks.)
• Persons with two or more underlying medical conditions
• Residents in congregate settings, residents in licensed independent living facilities, and residents of licensed group homes
Here is a list of the underlying conditions the CDC believes put people at increased risk of severe illness from the virus that causes COVID-19: cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), Down Syndrome, heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies, immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant, obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2), severe obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2), pregnancy, sickle cell disease, smoking, and Type 2 diabetes mellitus.
To date in South Dakota, 39,954 people have received the COVID-19 vaccine. Last week, just over 100 people had received their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. That number has soared to 7,998 as of Wednesday.
“We are definitely making significant progress,” Malsam-Rysdon said.
South Dakota remains among the top states in the nation when it comes to vaccine distribution and administration, she said. She attributes that to three things – the governor and top administration being flexible with the vaccination plan, great partnerships with healthcare groups across the state, and being transparent with the public about the status of vaccinations and future plans.
In the past week, South Dakota has seen about 400 new COVID-19 cases per day and about 10 deaths which is down significantly from the state’s peak during the week of Nov. 9-15, 2020, when the state was seeing more than 1,400 cases per day and about 15 deaths per day.
But even with that drop in numbers, state Epidemiologist Dr. Joshua Clayton said numbers across the country continue to remain high, therefore residents should be vigilant about monitoring their health.
“Stay home when you are sick, avoid crowds, and physically distance when possible, wear a mask when distancing is not possible, and practice good cough and hand hygiene,” he said.
There were 452 new cases of COVID-19 reported Wednesday with 19 new deaths, raising the state’s total since the pandemic began to 1,604.
The number of people hospitalized rose by 13 to 253 and active cases totaled 4,762.
FAQ about the COVID-19 Vaccine
HOW LONG DOES THE VACCINATION TAKE?
There is a recommended 30-minute observation period after each vaccination to be sure any potential adverse reactions are addressed.
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF THE VACCINE?
Early data on the vaccines show mild and temporary side effects such as headache, fatigue and mild fever, which are all common signs that show a vaccine is working to help you build immunity.
ARE THERE LONG-TERM EFFECTS FROM THIS VACCINE?
This vaccine was developed using mRNA and does not interact with DNA in any way – it is quickly broken down in the cell, never enters the nucleus and thus won’t cause long-term effects.
SOURCE: Monument Health
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