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South Dakotans 16 and older eligible for COVID-19 vaccination starting next week

Published: Mar. 31, 2021 at 11:33 AM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - COVID-19 vaccines will be available for any South Dakotans 16 years and older starting next week, Gov. Kristi Noem said Wednesday.

South Dakota health officials said the state is moving into Phase 2 of its COVID-19 vaccination plan, meaning all anyone 16 years and older is able to get vaccinated.

That group includes younger people, who may not be of high-risk, but are of high importance to be vaccinated.

“A lot of that younger to middle-age group is really serving as both a reservoir and a vector for the Coronavirus. Hopefully by getting to that group we can prevent further spread,” said Avera Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kevin Post.

The state says they’re expecting to receive over 30,000 doses next week, and even more throughout the month of April.

And as more people are set to be eligible, sparks a chance for more ways to get the shot.

“We anticipate seeing a lot of different kinds of opportunities available to people, and in some communities, there will be larger community wide events. In other communities it’ll be very similar to what’s happening now,” said Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon.

Previously, state health officials were anticipating beginning Phase 2 by May 1. Due to federal allocation, vaccinations can begin sooner, South Dakota Department of Health communications director Daniel Bucheli said.

Secretary of Health Kim Reynolds said vaccinations for every South Dakotans would open next week, but several media outlets have reported that some counties have already opened vaccinations to all over 16 this week.

On Wednesday, the South Dakota Department of Health reported 264 new COVID-19 cases. The new cases bring the state total case count to 117,759, 113,302 of which are considered recovered.

Active cases have remained mostly steady but cases did increase from Tuesday to 2,522. South Dakotans currently hospitalized due to the virus also increased to 104. Overall, 7,005 South Dakotans have been hospitalized at some point during the pandemic.

As vaccines are beginning to open for a larger population, as of Wednesday, 252,751 South Dakotans have received a vaccine shot. According to the South Dakota Department of Health, 157,742 residents have received both shots needed for maximum immunization with the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. 8,198 South Dakotans have received the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

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