Sanford Health seeing progress in vaccination rates

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — According to the CDC’s vaccine tracker, just over 53 percent of all South Dakotans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

While there is a concern that vaccination rates have slowed, Sanford Health says they’re making slow but steady progress.

“It went great, my arm is a little sore today, but otherwise I feel great,” Sanford nurse Hannah Murtha said.

Sanford nurse Hannah Murtha is drawing up Covid vaccines. Earlier this week, she was the patient getting her first shot.

“I actually had Covid back in October. It was pretty rough for me, I was pretty sick, so I was a little hesitant, but overall, it’s something that we need to do not only for ourselves but our patients, friends and family,” Murtha said.

Vaccination rates vary by age. Nearly 93 percent of people 65 and older in South Dakota are fully vaccinated. Now younger people are starting to get their shots as well.

“It doesn’t go up by leaps and bounds, but about point four percent every week is a consistent and steady increase, so we’re happy with the fact that every couple of weeks we make 1 percent and we keep gaining one percent week over week through the summer,” Sanford Health Chief Physician Dr. Jeremy Cauwels said.

Surveys show that of the people who are unvaccinated, about 20-percent say they won’t ever get the shot. The rest are waiting for various reasons, but Dr. Jeremy Cauwels says safety should not be one of them.

“If you dig into the literature or even if you do a Google search of it, what you can find is clear and convincing medical evidence that say these shots are safe. They protect you from the illness they’re supposed to protect you from and they do not cause harmful side effects,” said Dr. Cauwels.

Others are avoiding the shot because they’ve had covid before, but Murtha says that’s no protection.

“Just because you’ve had covid doesn’t mean that you don’t need to be vaccinated. You can very well get it again,” Murtha said.

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