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South Dakota among national leaders in vaccine rollout

Published: Jan. 4, 2021 at 7:16 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - South Dakota is leading the nation in the percentage of residents vaccinated, according to the New York Times.

The state is currently moving through their second and third groups to receive the vaccine, and healthcare officials say they are optimistic about the pace that doses are being given across the state.

South Dakota healthcare systems say once they receive doses of the COVID-19 vaccine there’s no wasting time.

“As soon as that vaccine comes in, we’re getting it given to people, whereas you see national news a lot of times they say it’s sitting in freezers somewhere, that’s not happening in our state whether that’s Sanford, Monument out west or us with Avera. We’re getting it done,” said Avera Health’s Dr. David Basel.

According to the New York Times, 3% of South Dakota’s population is vaccinated which is the highest percentage among states.

“It’s a testament to the resources we have within our healthcare system, our electronic medical record, being able to also identify populations that don’t work at Sanford or Avera that also qualify for the vaccine,” Sanford Health’s Mike Wilde said.

“It’s because of partnerships at the city level, and at the state level we’re able to cut through the red tape I think so much more effectively than a lot of states are. We just get it done,” Basel added.

At the end of the week, Avera says they’ll be at about 15,000 vaccines given in South Dakota and Sanford says they’re at 15,000 around the region.

Both say they receive roughly 2,500 vaccines from the state weekly, and Avera officials say there are two more possible vaccines on the horizon which could help speed up the process.

Although the state and healthcare systems are given the vaccine rapidly, doctors say it doesn’t necessarily mean those that are vaccinated are in the clear just yet.

“Once you’ve had the vaccine doesn’t give you a get out of COVID free card. You still have to continue to wear your mask, continue to social distance because we know that it will protect you from getting seriously ill, but because it primes your immune system to fight off when you see it again that’s going to take a little time for you to fight that virus off,” said Basel.

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