Local health experts answer vaccine questions at rotary meeting

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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – More than 38,000 people in South Dakota have received at least one dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

As more of the COVID-19 vaccine arrives in the state, you probably have questions.

From when you can get it to how well it works…

“We are confidently, in my own opinion, feeling that you should have strong confidence in this vaccine and how it was manufactured, tested and rolled out,” Vice President, Medical Officer, Sanford, Dr. Mike Wilde said.

Those are just some of the topics health experts from the state, Avera, and Sanford answered Monday at the Rotary Club of Downtown Sioux Falls meeting.

Health care workers were among the first in South Dakota to received the vaccine.
Secretary of state Department of Health, Kim Malsam-Rysdon says planning started early.

“We’ve got all of Phase 1, which is what we are in right now is comprised of who we consider in South Dakota right now, the priority populations to receive vaccine, we started that decision-making process before the federal government came out with their recommendations because we knew we needed to do some thinking around this,” Secretary of the South Dakota Department of Health, Kim Malsam-Rysdon said.

The planning continues each week.

“It’s Tuesday mornings that we learn what we are going to be getting for state allocations the following week, it’s Tuesday afternoons that we are talking with our Phase 1 vaccination partners saying this is what it looks like and how we think it should be divided up, between Tuesday night and Thursday noon, we need to see a micro plan from each Phase 1 vaccinator and how they are going to further deploy it, and then we review that and come to terms and consensus on that on Friday,” Malsam-Rysdon said.

And as each week wraps up, South Dakota is a little closer to returning to the way things were before the pandemic.

“If we can get enough people vaccinated, we can go to some semblance of what that new normal is,” Avera’s Vice President of Clinical Quality, Dr. David Basel said.

Malsam-Rysdon says their goal is to vaccine at least 60% of the adult population.

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