Sioux Falls health officials stressed one word Monday when it comes to getting a vaccine: patience. They also warned that while hospitalizations and new case numbers are stable, you still can’t let your guard down.
“We just need to continue to stress patience in terms of when the vaccine will be available and when people will be able to get that much-coveted poke in the arm,” said Mayor Paul TenHaken
If you are curious about when the vaccine will be made available to you, the mayor says the best source is Covid.sd.gov. It has county by county information on vaccinations, as well as when they will be available and who is eligible.
In some cases the hospitals will reach out if you are signed up for their online programs such as Avera Chart, and Sanford’s My Chart.
“There will be information coming as to where, what, when in regard to the vaccine,” said Dr. Michael Wilde of Sanford Health.
KELOLAND News will also be a source of this type of information.
“We want to get the vaccine into people’s arms as quickly as possible and every last dose we get in we will get it in there as quickly as possible, but just have some patience and grace with us,” said Dr. David Basel of Avera Health.
Dr. Basel believes the AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines should be approved for emergency use in February or March, and that will mean a large number of people will be vaccinated once they arrive in South Dakota.
So far we haven’t seen a Christmas surge and case numbers appear to be flattening out.
Doctors from both hospitals believe there is a simple reason for this.
“I think we’ve seen a definite change in the public’s behavior vs. say October and November the number of mask usage, we pleaded with people to change their Thanksgiving plans from what’s traditional and anecdotally people really took that to heart,” said Basel.
Other parts of the country are surging now, and they hope South Dakota can avoid getting caught up in the rising numbers. The vaccinations combined with the fact that about an eighth of the population of South Dakota has already had the virus could help.
“The hope would be that if it did come back it wouldn’t spread as rapidly but that is simply my hope, and a somewhat educated guess, but there is concern that this thing cold keep coming around and thus not only is my call thanks to everyone but stay vigilant with what’s going on right now,” said Dr. Wilde.
So far a more contagious variant of the Coronavirus hasn’t been detected in South Dakota, but that’s probably because we haven’t been testing for it.
That special genomic testing will be ramping up soon. Doctors say the good news, it appears the current vaccines protect against the more contagious variant.