With a good supply of the COVID-19 vaccines, Sanford Health communities are working toward the ability to vaccinate everyone over 16 years old.
Chief physician Jeremy Cauwels, M.D., joined Sanford Health News for a Facebook Live Q&A to address big topics with the vaccine, the virus and distribution progress.
Getting your shot is quick, convenient
South Dakota is currently vaccinating individuals in group 1E.
“This group is made of up essential workers that aren’t involved in health care but need a vaccine to keep businesses up and running,” Dr. Cauwels explained.
As of this week, both North Dakota and Minnesota will open their system to allow anyone over 16 to schedule a vaccine.
Each state has a unique distribution plan. Learn more about your state below:
- South Dakota Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccine Information
- North Dakota Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccine Information
- Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccine Information
- Iowa Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccine Information
Studies prove it’s a ‘game changer’
New data has further proven how effective these vaccines are at preventing COVID-19 and eliminating serious illness from COVID-19.
A recent report by the Minnesota Star Tribune says that out of the about 860,000 Minnesota residents who are fully vaccinated, there have been 89 “breakthrough cases” of the coronavirus and many were asymptomatic.
That’s less than a tenth of one percent of fully vaccinated people who have tested positive after their vaccinations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also released a report Monday which analyzed how well the vaccine worked for front-line workers. It says among 2,479 fully vaccinated people, just three had confirmed infections.
When you get your vaccine, Dr. Cauwels said make sure you get both.
The first two vaccines to hit the market, Moderna and Pfizer, require two doses.
“The first dose does do a good job of giving you some immunity, but we’re not entirely sure how much and we’re not sure how long that will last,” Dr. Cauwels said. “The correct way to get your vaccination is to get both doses. That’s the way we can say, with a good deal of certainty, you’re safe.”
The vaccine does not impact fertility
Dr. Cauwels says these vaccines are good for pregnant women, breastfeeding women or women looking to become pregnant.
“The latest medical data still confirms vaccines are safe among women of child-bearing age and those who are already pregnant,” Dr. Cauwels said. “One study just released showed resounding safety among 250 patients who were vaccinated pre-pregnancy, while pregnant or before delivery.”
Getting COVID-19 while pregnant is far more dangerous, and Dr. Cauwels encourages avoiding any risk when you have an opportunity, he said.
Early studies now show vaccinated pregnant women pass antibodies to their babies in utero and through breastmilk, the Washington Post reports. Not only is the vaccine safe for Mom but it also adds a layer of protection for her unborn baby.
Region sees increase in COVID-19 cases
Within Sanford Health communities, overall case numbers have slightly increased in recent weeks.
“That’s also being seen in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan,” Dr. Cauwels added. He said what’s unique is hospitalizations have increased while the patients are consistently younger than previously seen.
“The fastest growing population are between ages 30 and 50,” Dr. Cauwels said. That’s because the most protected population is older.
In conversations about herd immunity, the younger adult population is part of the “herd,” and Dr. Cauwels encourages vaccinations when it’s their turn.
“They are the exact people who will help keep this virus around, giving more opportunity for our older population to get sick,” he said. “We need to vaccinate the whole herd, which includes teens and young adults over age 16.”
In teens and children younger than 16, Dr. Cauwels expects more data and study results to be released in time for the new school year.
If you have general questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit sanfordhealth.org or call the Sanford Health Nurse Line. My Sanford Nurse is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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- Moderna, Pfizer, J&J vaccines: Similarities and differences
- COVID-19 FAQs: How do vaccines get developed and approved?