COVID-19 vaccination is underway and the current group being vaccinated in South Dakota is 1D.

1D is a large group, but those in that group who are now being vaccinated include:

People age 65 and older

People receiving care for transplant

Current cancer patients

Dialysis patients

“State health departments have decided the order of vaccination with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” said David Basel, MD, Vice President of Avera Medical Group Quality.

Because 1D is so large, it will take time to get everyone in that group vaccinated. Others that will follow include people with serious medical conditions, educators and funeral service workers. Avera is also reaching out to people in high-risk congregate living facilities.

In South Dakota, counties have been divided as to what health system is providing vaccinations for those residents. If you live in other states, check their state health department web sites. Group designations may differ slightly. Links are available at Avera.org/covid-vaccine.

How Do I Sign U

p For COVID-19 Vaccine?

Here’s how Avera’s vaccination process works in South Dakota:

Some Avera patients in 1D will receive phone calls to set up vaccination appointments. People are encouraged to avoid calling their primary care provider or clinic about getting the vaccine because high call volumes can slow the process for everyone.

Another option is to visit Avera.org/covid-vaccine and complete a form.

People who don’t have internet access can call the Avera COVID-19 Hotline at 1-877-AT-AVERA.

If your group is not yet up for vaccination, you can sign up for the waiting list. It’s also online, and Avera.org/covid-vaccine is continually updated so you can know what’s happening with each group that is being vaccinated.

What Will My COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment Be Like?If you qualify for the vaccine now, you’ll get additional information on where to go, as well as the time and date for your appointment. When you go, you should wear a mask and you’ll need to complete a short form prior to the vaccination.

After your vaccine, you’ll be asked to stay at the site for at least 15 minutes for observation. This is to ensure you feel well. Some people may be asked to stay for 30 minutes if they have had previous severe allergic reactions to medications.

While you’re at the vaccination clinic, you will set up an appointment for your second dose. You also will receive a CDC-printed card that can serve as your proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Make sure you bring it back for your second-dose appointment.

Since the beginning of the 1D group’s eligibility, Avera, along with other health systems, have begun reaching out to patients. The best advice for those who are offered a specific time, date and location is to take it.

“There might be some overlap, as people have received messages from different health systems,” said Basel. “I would encourage anyone in the 1D group to go ahead and schedule their shot when it works best for them, as soon as possible. You need not wait for an Avera appointment if you are offered one through the VA’s vaccination program, for example.”

What If I Have a Clinic Appointment Already Set Up?

Patients who have any type of appointment set with their primary care provider cannot use that appointment to get their COVID-19 vaccine while at the appointment.

“Due to the nature of the vaccine vials and way it’s being distributed, we are not offering shots at traditional clinics where patients may normally see their providers,” Basel said.

Side Effects Are Likely and Show It WorksA number of patients who have received the vaccinations report some side effects, including soreness at the injection site, chills, aches and pain, fever and tiredness and headache.

“These symptoms do not mean that you’ve gotten COVID-19 from the shot,” said Basel. “In fact, it’s impossible to get COVID from the vaccine. Both shots are necessary to build full immunity. The side effects show the vaccine is working to protect you going forward.”

Patients who complete the two-shot vaccination are reminded to maintain social distance, continue thorough hand-washing and to wear masks. The vaccination will help reduce the risk of spread but it will take time to fully protect those who receive it.

Load comments