Sanford Bismarck, Fargo offer first COVID vaccine to public

Vaccine available for individuals 75 and older with underlying health conditions

An older couple rolls up their sleeves for COVID-19 vaccination at Sanford Health while two nurses help.

Sanford Health Fargo and Sanford Health Bismarck began administering the COVID-19 vaccine today to individuals who fall into the phase 1B category, beginning with patients 75 years and older with underlying health conditions.

“This is another monumental day in the battle against COVID-19,” said Dr. Doug Griffin, Sanford Health vice president, medical officer of Sanford Fargo. “This vaccine is a proven, safe treatment with a 95% efficacy rate. A safe and effective vaccine is an important step in ending this pandemic. I strongly recommend that if you have the opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine to do so.”

Related: How will I know it’s my turn for COVID-19 vaccine?

How soon people will be able to receive the vaccine depends on the amount available and where people fit into each priority group. Priority groups are set by the Centers for Disease Control and the North Dakota Department of Health. Priority groups are established based on occupation and those with certain health conditions as they are most at risk for COVID-19. People at high-risk will be prioritized first.

Sanford patients should not contact their doctor’s office to find out when they are eligible for the vaccine. Sanford Health will notify patients when the vaccine is available for them. Timing is subject to change based on vaccine availability and guidance from the CDC and state.

How patients will be notified

Sanford patients will receive a My Sanford Chart message, a letter and a voice message or text message when they are eligible to set up their vaccine appointment. All patients are encouraged to enroll in a My Sanford Chart account if they do not already have one as this is the fastest and most efficient way to communicate. To enroll in a My Sanford Chart account, visit mysanfordchart.org.

After receiving the notification, people can schedule an appointment through My Sanford Chart.

“The more people that get the vaccine, the sooner we can get herd immunity, reduce illness, hospitalizations and death,” said Dr. Noe Mateo, Sanford Health infectious disease specialist in Bismarck. “Herd immunity is achieved when enough people have protection against this virus and getting a vaccine is the best and safest way to get this pandemic under control.”

Patients will be observed on-site for 15 minutes after receiving their COVID-19 vaccine. The most common side effects are injection site pain, soreness and swelling. The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine should be received 21 days after the first dose. The second dose of the Moderna vaccine should be received 28 days after the first dose.

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, visit sanfordhealth.org and the CDC.

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Posted In Bismarck, Coronavirus, Fargo, Immunizations, News

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