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SD Health-Care Group: Patience Needed for Vaccine Rollout

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According to some national polls, almost half of U.S. adults don't appear eager to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it's available, mainly out of safety concerns. But health officials say some of these doses could be nearly 95% effective. (Adobe Stock)
According to some national polls, almost half of U.S. adults don't appear eager to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it's available, mainly out of safety concerns. But health officials say some of these doses could be nearly 95% effective. (Adobe Stock)
December 2, 2020

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Federal officials are working with drug companies on novel coronavirus vaccines, some of which could be available this month for groups prioritized for early rollouts. A South Dakota health-care group hopes underserved residents aren't overlooked, and urges patience.

Yesterday, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention committee recommended that health-care workers and residents of long-term care facilities get the first round of doses.

Lori Dumke is clinical and quality services director with the Community HealthCare Association of the Dakotas, which assists federally subsidized clinics. She said there are still a lot of unknowns, and as health providers are briefed on the updates, they'll be a valuable resource.

"The general public doesn't necessarily have the resources that our health-care professionals do," said Dumke, "of different webinars, and hearing medical directors and researchers, and things like that."

She said health-care professionals also can provide reassurance for anyone worried about the safety of vaccines that came together quickly.

Some polls suggest nearly half of U.S. adults wouldn't get a vaccination right away.

Dumke said her group is speaking to staff at homeless shelters and others working with vulnerable residents, to ensure they get the information they need.

Depending on which vaccines are available first, Dumke said it's hard to tell how the state will be affected. For example, the Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored at minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit, and South Dakota has limited amounts of dry ice to help with storage.

But Dumke said it appears the state has done some key planning around such issues.

"There will definitely be hiccups along the way, and glitches that we need to work out," said Dumke, "But I think that that's one thing about the distribution process with the COVID vaccine in general is, it's a huge benefit that it's rolling out in phases, as opposed to dropping one million doses on a state and figuring out what to do with it."

In a meeting with health-care providers this week, the state health department said it has the resources needed to get vaccines rolled out to prioritized residents. South Dakota's three main providers are playing a role, and Dumke said they have capabilities to hold vaccine events at satellite clinics in harder-to-reach communities.

Mike Moen, Public News Service - SD