COVID-19 vaccine arrives in South Dakota, first immunizations administered
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - While the pandemic rages on nationwide, it’s a landmark day in the fight against COVID-19. As of Monday morning, 7,800 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine have been delivered to South Dakota.
The first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are in Sioux Falls and immunizations are already being administered to front-line workers at Avera Health.
In a long year, there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel.
“I cannot overemphasize how much eagerness, excitement, and frankly, the joy that we are seeing from our healthcare providers, clear across our system,” Dr. David Basel with Avera Health said. “This is the first big step toward getting past (the pandemic), in our mind.”
Even with this new optimism and a recent decline in COVID infections as well as hospitalizations in South Dakota, there is still a long road ahead.
Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken says while the numbers are encouraging, “it’s certainly not a time to relax.”
“I think there is some clarity that we can see toward the end of this pandemic,” Dr. Mike Wilde with Sanford Health said. “But it’s really taking care of yourself as well, to do the things that we’ve talked about over and over again, with the hygiene, the distancing, etc.”
Dr. Basel says Avera has received just under 3,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, all of which are expected to be administered by the end of the week.
“We’ll start with our with our ED physicians, ICU nurses, and those working in COVID units, here in Sioux Falls,” Dr. Basel said.
As for Sanford, Dr. Wilde says they have been given 3,100 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and will begin their vaccinations Tuesday afternoon.
If approved by the FDA this week, Dr. Basel says the state is scheduled to receive about 14,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine next week.
Those doses are expected to be more widely distributed across South Dakota, as the Moderna vaccine is stable at refrigerator temperatures, rather than the extreme cold needed to store the Phizer vaccine.
Dr. Basel says both vaccines will require two doses and may cause mild side effects.
“After one dose of vaccine you’re about 50-60% protected,” Dr. Basel said. “It’s really that second dose when you get the full protection of 90-95% plus, so it’s really important to go and get that second dose.”
In the coming weeks, Dr. Basel says nursing home workers, as well as residents, are expected to begin being vaccinated, followed by first responders and other populations considered to be “high risk.”
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