SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The latest numbers in Friday’s update from South Dakota Department of Health tell us that 44,057 people have received a COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine’s rollout is split into different phases, and Monday brings the launch of phase 1D. Phase 1D includes people 65 years old and older, beginning who people who are 80 and older. 1D also includes high-risk patients, including those on dialysis and post-transplant.
Dr. David Basel, vice president of clinical quality with Avera Medical Group, said Friday afternoon that phase 1C wasn’t finished.
“We still do have some 1C folks left on into next week that we’ve scheduled, and so I’m calling it kind of a soft launch of 1D, because there won’t be a, at least for Avera I know, that we won’t have a lot of 1D slots open next week,” Basel said. “We’ll probably have a lot more of them open up the week after that.”
Basel offers some numbers which put the effort into context.
“It’s also important to keep in mind that overall, there’s 250,000 individuals in 1D, and we’re getting 11,000 doses a week. So it’s going to take us a while even when we are fully into 1D to get everybody done,” Basel said. “So we’re asking a lot, lot of patience.”
The rollout continues, balancing medicine with speed.
“I know we’ve had a lot of interested people calling in, saying when can I get on and stuff like that, and so even in the 80 and above group, it’s going to take us several weeks to get through that group I suspect, and so we’ll get there as fast as we can,” Basel said.
“Phase 1D is our patients,” said Dr. Jeremy Cauwels, chief physician with Sanford Health. “And I will tell you that as Sanford Health as a whole and as me as an individual and as a physician, we are absolutely looking forward to getting to our patients as quickly as we possibly can.”
Kim Malsam-Rysdon, secretary of health with the South Dakota Department of Health, released the following statement on Friday: “South Dakota will do what we always do—work with what we have, while helping as many as we can. While we await any increase in federal allocation numbers, we will continue Phase I as planned. Starting next week, our healthcare systems will start vaccinating a limited number of residents who are 80 and over in age, high risk patients in oncology treatment, on dialysis and post-transplant, and high-risk congregate setting residents. Shots in arms is our goal.”