More people have been vaccinated for COVID-19 in South Dakota than have gotten the disease

Published: Feb. 24, 2021 at 5:06 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - The number of people in South Dakota who have been vaccinated against the coronavirus has surpassed the total number of people state-wide who have caught the disease.

As the state reached that milestone, health officials are reminding people that the virus is still a problem and that a lot more people are going to have to get vaccinated before a return to normalcy is possible.

Dr. Shankar Kurra with Monument Health is optimistic, however, that because of the state’s effective vaccination plan, enough people could be vaccinated by the late summer to see a difference.

”South Dakota has done a better job than most states, and so we’re in a good place and if we continue on this trajectory, I think summer through fall, we can get to those heard immunity numbers,” Kurra said.

The Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday that the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine meets the requirements for emergency use authorization. The vaccine is not as effective at preventing the disease compared to the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

But, Kurra said that it’s nearly 100% effective in preventing serious cases of COVID-19.

”If you get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you will not get hospitalized, one,” Kurra said. “Two, more importantly, if you get the disease, you will get a very mild form, almost like getting the common cold. So, you want to get any vaccine that’s available. The important thing is to get vaccinated. We can stop this disease.”

The potential third vaccine has also been shown to be effective in preventing disease transmission.

The state remains in Phase 1D of the vaccination plan with people 65 and older qualifying for the vaccine.

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