SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Across the country, we’ve seen controversy over people “cutting in line” to get the COVID-19 vaccine. It even sparked protest at Stanford University in California.
In this edition of COVID-19 Beyond the Numbers, we have learned that some workers in the health care system have received the vaccine who may not work directly with patients.
But Sanford Health claims they would be eligible for the vaccine under the current group of people being vaccinated known as Phase 1C.
Confidential sources tell KELOLAND News that some employees of Good Samaritan in the national billing office have been vaccinated, as well as IT personnel who work at the Sanford Research Center. According to the South Dakota Department of Health guidelines, other health care workers, including laboratory and clinic staff are now eligible for the vaccine.
Dr. Jeremy Cauwels of Sanford Health: And that includes many people we don’t traditionally think about as health care workers; not doctors and nurses anymore. So they can be folks in IT–folks that work in other things, but still help us take care of our patients on a regular basis.
Dr. Cauwels: The billing folks also would fall sometimes into that 1C category and for us, it’s just about making sure we’re putting as many vaccines into arms as possible. But at the same time, I’ll tell you there are 3,000 people in our corporate offices that are not getting the vaccine here in South Dakota and we are going to maintain that until our patients start to get them.
Sanford Health says it is notifying patients in various ways, from texts to emails to phone calls, that they are on the list for vaccination and will let them know when it is their turn for the shot.
Next week, we can expect Phase 1D of the vaccine to begin, starting with people aged 80 and over, high risk patients, high risk residents in community settings, people with two or more underlying medical conditions, as well as teachers and school staff and funeral service workers.