Flickers of light are starting to grow brighter and the end of this long pandemic tunnel.
Starting April 5, Sanford Health is moving into the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in South Dakota and Iowa. All residents age 16 and older are now eligible to schedule COVID-19 vaccinations.
North Dakota and Minnesota opened vaccinations to the general public age 16 and older last week.
All are safe
Sara Zoelle, M.D. is the Sanford Health vice president, medical officer in the Sioux Falls, South Dakota network.
She said this is a monumental announcement in the path to return to some degree of normalcy.
“This is really exciting to be able to say, ‘yes, you’re 16, call and schedule your shot,’” said Dr. Zoelle.
The Pfizer vaccine is approved for patients 16 and older. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for patients 18 and older.
“It does not matter which type you get. They have all been researched. They are all safe, whether you’re pregnant, have comorbid conditions, they don’t interfere with any other medications you’re on.
“So, please schedule your vaccine as soon as possible,” she said.
How to schedule
Non-Sanford patients can schedule appointments online or register to be notified when an appointment becomes available. Sanford patients can schedule vaccinations through My Sanford Chart, said Dr. Zoelle.
“If aren’t sure if you have an active My Chart account, call your Sanford clinic or contact your local retail pharmacy to get your vaccine.”
Patients under 18 cannot schedule a vaccine appointment themselves.
“Parents would need to help schedule the vaccine for anyone not yet 18, but it’s very easy to do. If you have any questions, contact your primary care provider and we can help you navigate,” explained Dr. Zoelle.
Return to normal
Since January, Sanford Health has given more than 100,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses across its communities.
“We’ve started to go out into smaller communities and give large amounts of vaccine,” said Dr. Zoelle.
As more of the public becomes vaccinated, she’s felt more hope.
“It really has made me finally see that there’s hope for us getting through this without having more deaths or hospitalizations. I would like to think people have been getting the vaccine, not just for themselves, but for their neighbor, for the fellow man.
“You may think that you’re healthy and you can get COVID and be fine, but you don’t know that. And, you don’t know who you may infect before you get signs of illness. Vaccines are to protect everyone, not just yourself.”
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