Vaccination events allow more walk-ins as rollout continues

Published: Apr. 13, 2021 at 6:51 PM CDT
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WATERTOWN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - As more and more South Dakotans receive their first and second doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, health providers are starting to open up their vaccine clinics to allow more walk-ins.

With more vaccinated people, that means a slow down of demand for vaccine appointments. Avera St. Luke’s of Aberdeen Director of Pharmacy Alvin Haugen said as more younger people and those working during the day become eligible in the state’s rollout plan, their first scheduling system is starting to be phased out as well.

“That tend to work really well with the first couple of tiers. With Phase II, with more of the working group, we’ve offered more and more evening clinics.” said Haugen.

And healthcare providers are aware of the challenge of an unknown number of people showing up to each mass vaccination event. Prairie Lakes Healthcare of Watertown CEO K.C DeBoer said they’re monitoring each dose they distribute, so none go to waste.

“At every event, we’ve got a pharmacist there. And she’s monitoring and making sure that we only draw up the vaccine we need for the patients that are currently in the building, and keeping the rest in the cooler.” said DeBoer.

Both Haugen and DeBoer said the biggest challenge they face now isn’t finding supply of doses for those that want it, but getting the word out about where and when people can get vaccinated. With just over half of eligible South Dakotans receiving at least one vaccine dose, they said getting out messaging is now their tallest hurdle.

“As we reach Phase II, you know we tend to get into a little bit different age group. And I think that people are a little more vaccine hesitant.” said Haugen.

“The city’s been great to work with to help spread the word. We’ve been using electronic media, social media.” said DeBoer.

Walk-ins in Aberdeen will be available Wednesday, April 14th from 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm at the Avera Human Performance Center, 815 First Avenue Southeast.

Walk-ins in Watertown will be available Wednesday, April 14th from 6:30 am to 1:00 pm at the Codington County Extension Complex through entrance “H”.

Both Sanford and Avera in Sioux Falls are also accepting walk-ins in the coming days. There is no charge for a COVID-19 vaccination.

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