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MED

Avera Expands Age Range for COVID Vaccine

Feb 16, 2021 12:38PM ● By Med Magazine

In accordance with a recent announcement by the South Dakota Department of Health, Avera is expanding the age range for COVID vaccination to people age 70 and older.

Avera continues to vaccinate people currently receiving care for cancer, transplant and dialysis, in addition to at-risk people living in congregate environments, health care workers in patient care, emergency medical services (EMS) personnel, public health workers, lab workers, law enforcement, correctional officers, dentists, home health staff, and pharmacists.

People in these groups who live in South Dakota can go to Avera.org/covid-vaccine to fill out an online form. Those who are not in qualifying groups right now can sign up to be put on a waiting list, or can continue to watch for updates on the vaccine web page.

Those who do not have internet access can call 1-877-AT-AVERA (1-877-282-8372). Avera asks that people call only if they do not have access to internet as fielding a large amount of calls will limit the hotline’s ability to schedule people who are now designated for the vaccine.

The South Dakota Department of Health has provided a web-based tool to help residents best identify which priority vaccination group they fall under. South Dakotans should also check the state website to see what health system will provide vaccinations in their county.

In Iowa, some Avera facilities have links on their Facebook pages to sign up on a wait list. Iowa residents can go to the Iowa Department of Public Health website for information as county health departments are also holding vaccination clinics.

In Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Health has a waiting list on its vaccine website. Those registering for the waiting list for the pilot community vaccination program will be chosen by random selection to receive vaccine. 

In Nebraska, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has launched a website to help Nebraskans sign up to be notified of vaccination plans in their area so they can make an appointment.

People need to be vaccinated in the state in which they live.

“Avera is pleased that vaccination is progressing well and that we are able to open vaccination to people 70 and older in South Dakota,” said David Basel, MD, Vice President for Avera Medical Group Quality. “As the weeks progress and we receive more vaccine supply, we’ll be able to open vaccination to additional groups.”

People who do not fall into these groups may not qualify to receive the vaccine for weeks or months. “We encourage people to stay up to date with what’s happening in their state. Be assured that everyone will have their turn. Vaccinations have already had the positive effect of helping to bring down the number of COVID-related hospitalizations that we are seeing,” Basel said.

Avera reminds the public that it’s important to continue to wear masks, practice social distancing, stay home when sick and observe other measures to slow the spread of the virus and protect those who are most vulnerable.