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Alert IconIf you're in COVID-19 vaccine category 1D, please visit our vaccination resources. Otherwise, visit our COVID-19 resources for up-to-date information. View a list of clinic and facility closures

COVID-19 Vaccination Information

South Dakota is currently vaccinating group 1A, C and D.

  • Group 1A: Frontline health care workers, and long-term care facility health care workers.
  • Group 1C: Emergency Medical Services, public health workers, lab workers, law enforcement, correctional officers and those in patient care.
  • Group 1D: People who are age 80 and over, transplant patients, and patients receiving cancer and dialysis treatment.

If you are not in one of these categories, please visit this site for more information on the timeline. If you are in the 1A, 1C or 1D group, please fill out the form below. If you want to be included on our vaccination waitlist, fill out the form below and select “other” as your priority group.

If you are outside of South Dakota, contact your state’s health department to learn more:

1A, C, & D COVID-19 Vaccine Form

Vaccine Availability

Avera wants to help people in our communities receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Because the supply is limited, priority groups have been set by the state. For many, it may be weeks or months, depending on age and risk factors. As the vaccine supply increases, additional groups will be able to get vaccinated, including those who have higher-risk health conditions.

Currently, clinics are vaccinating people in groups 1A and 1C. We are contacting people within group 1D in South Dakota, starting with people who are age 80 and over, transplant patients, and patients receiving cancer and dialysis treatment.

COVID-19 vaccine is being administered in phases. Here is an expected state timeline for availability.


Dr. David Basel answers questions about the safety of the COVID-19 Vaccine.

Dr. Basel answers questions about the side effects of the new COVID-19 Vaccine.

Dr. David Basel, MD, Vice President of Avera Medical Group Quality, discusses Covid-19 vaccines.

Dr. David Basel, MD, Vice President of Avera Medical Group Quality, discusses Covid-19 vaccines.

Full version of Dr. David Basel, MD, Vice President of Avera Medical Group Quality, discussing the Covid-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 Vaccine Q&A

The FDA has authorized the emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine in individuals 16 years and older and the Moderna vaccine in individuals 18 years and older. See the Pfizer and Moderna fact sheets.

Safety

Is it safe?

COVID-19 Vaccine Safety: Two independent advisory committees [ACIP and the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC)] review vaccine safety data. ACIP also monitors post-market safety and effectiveness data for new vaccines. For COVID-19, ACIP has formed a separate Vaccine Safety Technical (VaST) Subgroup to provide timely evaluation of vaccine safety, both pre- and post-licensure.

Enhanced Safety Monitoring for COVID-19 Vaccines: In addition to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) and other systems routinely used by CDC and FDA to monitor vaccine safety, CDC is adding further monitoring programs for COVID-19 vaccines. Data on vaccinated health care workers will be collected through the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) system. The Vaccine Safety Assessment for Essential Workers (V-SAFE) program, a smartphone-based active surveillance system, will collect text- or web-based health checks from early vaccine recipients who volunteer to report for six weeks post-vaccination. Any clinically important event(s) reported by the vaccine recipient will be followed up and a VAERS report will be submitted, as appropriate.

Learn more on CDC's Ensuring the Safety of Vaccines.

How do we know the vaccine is safe, since it was "rushed" through the process?

The biggest portion of the vaccine approval process that was “rushed” is the ramping up of vaccine production. Usually, pharmaceutical companies wait until full approval before starting manufacture, to avoid wasting money and resources if not approved. In the case of the COVID vaccines, the U.S. government paid pharmaceutical companies to go ahead and start ramping up production ahead of approval.

Emergency use authorization (EUA) approval was based on shorter-term follow-up than normal. Normally, they like to follow trials for a year to see how long immunity lasts, so we don’t yet know if a booster will be needed in the future. However, even six months immunity will help with getting back to normal.

What are the side effects of the vaccine?

Early data on the vaccines show mild and temporary side effects like headache, fatigue and mild fever, which are all common signs that show a vaccine is working to help you build immunity.

There have been no serious side effects. The vaccine has shown no neurological problems (Guillain-Barre Syndrome) or allergic reactions at a rate higher than the placebo. The CDC encourages people with asthma, COPD, etc., to take the vaccine.

Do I still need to wear a mask after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine?

After you have received your vaccine, it is important to continue wearing masks and practicing social distancing and hand hygiene, because you may still be able to spread COVID-19 to others.

Should the person giving me my vaccine be wearing gloves?

Gloves are not required PPE for vaccinators. Giving vaccinations without gloves is safe for both you and your vaccinator.

Access and Timing

Is this one dose or a series?

The two initial vaccines projected for release are two-dose series vaccines and are not interchangeable. It’s important that you schedule your second dose while getting your first dose because your booster must be from the same manufacturer. According to Pfizer, its second injection increases effectiveness from 50% after the first dose, to 94% after the second dose.

Why can’t I have the vaccine right now when others are receiving it?

Unfortunately, at this time, there is not enough vaccine for everyone who is requesting it. Vaccine allocation to states and locations is being based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state health officials, National Academy of Sciences as well as the Catholic Healthcare Association.

The best way to prevent COVID-19 is by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and washing your hands frequently.

If I am a front-line worker who is receiving the vaccine, is my family eligible to receive the vaccine also?

At this time, only those on the allocation list are included in the vaccination group.

I move in the winter months, can I get my first dose here and my second dose elsewhere?

No. To receive your first dose with Avera, you must commit to scheduling your second dose at the same location.

Can I reschedule my vaccination appointment?

To reschedule your first dose, refer to the link in your confirmation email, or visit here.

When you receive your first dose, you are committing to your second dose appointment. Receiving your second vaccine dose is a top priority to ensure that you develop immunity.

If you have made every effort to keep your second dose appointment but are unable, please contact the COVID-19 Hotline via email or your vaccine site coordinator.

I already received my first dose, but I keep receiving invites. Do I need to sign up again?

No, you do not need to sign up again. You may wish to contact your vaccine site coordinator to provide notification that you have received the first dose.

Vaccine and Test Results

Will the vaccine affect the results of my COVID-19 diagnostic (PCR) testing or COVID-19 antibody testing?

According to the CDC, the vaccine does not interact or cause false positives with COVID-19 diagnostic (PCR) tests. However, since the vaccine builds antibodies, your COVID-19 antibody test results may be positive.

Allocation Questions

How were groups allocated?

The state health departments have decided the order of vaccination with guidance from the CDC. Avera also consulted CHA Guiding Principles, scientific research on vaccine allocation from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, and Avera workflow/standard of care.

Categories were chosen based on risk of exposure to COVID, i.e. duration of exposure and care offered (aerosol-generating procedures, etc.).

The Vaccine and Your Health

How should I feel after getting the COVID-19 vaccine?

You may have some side effects, which are normal signs that your body is building protection to COVID-19. These side effects may feel like the flu and may even affect your ability to do daily activities, but they should go away in a few days.

Common side effects include:

  • Pain and swelling at the injection site
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Tiredness
  • Headache

Remember, it takes time for your body to build protection after any vaccination. COVID-19 vaccines require two shots and may not protect you until a week or two after the second shot. Get the second shot even if you have side effects after the first one.

If I’ve had COVID-19, do I need a vaccination?

Avera is recommending that everyone get the COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of whether they have recovered from a previous COVID-19 infection. According to the CDC, there is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again; this is called natural immunity. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this.

Can someone with active COVID be vaccinated?

The CDC recommends that individuals currently under isolation for active COVID do not get vaccinated until their isolation period is complete. Similarly, those under quarantine for COVID close contact should not be vaccinated until their quarantine period is complete to avoid risking exposing vaccination workers.

If I have COVID or have been exposed, how does that impact the second dose in a two-dose series?

According to the CDC, if you contract COVID-19 after getting your first dose in a two-dose series, wait until you are out of your isolation period before receiving the second dose.

  • If you are COVID-positive, you must isolate for 10 days after symptoms first appear. You may then receive the second dose if your symptoms are improving and you’ve had no fever for 24 hours.
  • If you are an asymptomatic positive COVID patient, you must wait 10 days after a positive test to exit isolation and receive your second dose.
  • Similarly, if you are exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 (within 6 feet for a total combined 15 minutes or more), you can get a vaccine after ending quarantine.
  • You must quarantine for 10 days after exposure. If you remain asymptomatic, you may exit quarantine.
  • You may exit quarantine in seven days if you have a negative test on day 5 or after.
  • Continue to watch for symptoms for 14 days after exposure.
  • There is no need to readminister the first dose. After quarantine or isolation has ended and the second dose is administered, the vaccine course is considered complete.

Can immunocompromised patients receive this vaccine?

The CDC recommends the vaccine for immunocompromised individuals, such as transplant and cancer patients. It may be less effective but is still recommended.

Can pregnant or breastfeeding patients receive this vaccine?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends COVID-19 vaccines not be withheld from pregnant patients, based on CDC guidance. While safety data on the use of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy is not available, there is also no data or signs the vaccine is unsafe or should be withheld. The vaccines do not enter your cells and do not cause genetic changes.

ACOG recommends pregnant women treat any mild vaccine side effects with acetaminophen. ACOG says other considerations include how much COVID-19 is in your community, how able you are to limit your exposure, and whether you have underlying health conditions that could mean COVID-19 would be more severe for you. No data is available on the effectiveness of the vaccine for pregnant women, but ACOG states it is likely similar to non-pregnant adults, in which the vaccine is 95% effective. For more discussion, pregnant women are encouraged to discuss with their physician.

According to the CDC, mRNA vaccines (the type of vaccine of the current COVID-19 vaccines in the market) are not thought to be a risk to the breastfeeding infant. A lactating person who is part of a group recommended to receive a COVID-19 vaccine (e.g., healthcare personnel) may choose to be vaccinated.

Does the COVID-19 Vaccine affect fertility?

No, there is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine causes infertility because of the way the vaccine interacts with the body. Both Pfizer and Moderna use mRNA to persuade the body to develop antibodies. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, an mRNA vaccine uses a piece of messenger RNA — a set of instructions that tells a cell to make a specific protein. For SARS-CoV-2, this is the spike protein that is found on the surface of the viral envelope. The mRNA used in the vaccine does not enter the cell’s nucleus and consequently has no interaction with a cell’s DNA. It is also not a full virus and cannot replicate itself. The mRNA is rapidly broken down by the cell once the instructions have been transmitted, so it does not cause mutations or cellular defects, and has not been associated with infertility. Once the spike protein is made, it is put on the surface of the cell, where it is seen by the immune cells and causes them to become activated and respond. The result is the production of neutralizing antibodies. If a person who is immunized becomes infected with the virus, the neutralizing antibodies will bind to the virus and prevent it from entering cells and causing disease.

Are there known interactions with any medications or other vaccines?

The recommendation is to not receive another vaccine for 14 days prior to or after the COVID vaccine, as there is not enough data to support it at this time. MRNA is short-lived, and an individual could receive other vaccines later.

There is also not a lot of data around other medications. However, the trial study had a number of clinical conditions (cardiac, HIV, diabetes), and those participants were on some medication, and that did not present an issue. Some medications may decrease immunity; however, the added protection of the vaccine remains worthwhile. You should not receive this vaccine for 90 days after receiving convalescent plasma or monoclonal antibodies such as bamlanivimab or Regeneron.

Are there any demographics who cannot receive the vaccine?

The Pfizer vaccine did not receive emergency use authorization for individuals age 15 and younger. The Moderna vaccine did not receive emergency use authorization for individuals 17 and younger.

According to the CDC, you should not get the vaccine if you have had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylactic, swelling of the face, mouth or throat) to a previous dose of this vaccine, to any ingredient of this vaccine, to another vaccine, to other subcutaneous, intramuscular or intravenous injections.

Are there long-term effects from this vaccine?

According to the CDC, this vaccine was developed using mRNA and does not interact with DNA in any way – it is quickly broken down in the cell and never enters the nucleus, and thus won’t cause long-term effects.

Does the flu shot increase my chance of getting COVID?

The flu shot does not increase your chance of getting COVID-19. It actually decreases your chance of getting sick. A flu vaccine will not protect you from getting COVID-19, but it can prevent you from getting the flu at the same time as COVID-19. This can keep you from having a more severe illness.

Vaccine Cost

Does insurance cover it?

Private health insurance companies, as well as government insurance programs like Medicare, will cover the vaccination.

What is the cost of the vaccine?

At this time, there is no out-of-pocket cost of the vaccine to the vaccine recipient.

Ethics

Are there ethical concerns with the COVID-19 vaccine? Was it developed using embryonic stem cells?

Neither the Pfizer nor Moderna vaccine involved the use of fetal cell lines connected to abortions in their design, development or production.

Our Promises to You Regarding the Vaccine

Vaccine recipients can feel confident in Avera’s support, and we make the following promises to you:

  • We will only administer the vaccine to groups of people for whom the vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective.
  • You will be provided the information and education you need to make an informed decision about vaccination.
  • We will schedule your vaccination appointment and ensure that masking, social distancing and hand hygiene are in place.
  • Your vaccine will be supervised by a licensed health care professional who has been fully trained to administer this vaccine.
  • After you receive your vaccination, you will be monitored for at least 15 minutes by a licensed health care professional.
  • We will share information with you about FDA’s v-safe mobile tool. By enrolling in v-safe, you will receive regular text messages directing you to surveys where you can report any problems or adverse reactions you have after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • We will schedule the next shot in your vaccination series, if applicable, to ensure that you are as protected as possible.

It is important to continue wearing masks and to social distance even after you’ve received the vaccine as you may still be able to spread COVID-19 to others.

When Can I Get the COVID-19 Vaccine?

COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Phase 1

COVID-19 Vaccine Providers

Vaccine providers vary by county. Please refer to this county-by-county map to determine the provider in your area.

COVID-Vaccine-by-County-Map

If you should have an adverse reaction, or a health problem that occurs after your vaccination, take these steps:

  1. Contact your clinic or primary care provider, either by phone or by sending a message through AveraChart. Your primary care provider has the best understanding of your health history.
  2. If you don’t have a primary care provider, or if it’s after hours, you can reach out to the Avera COVID-19 Hotline at 1-877-AT-AVERA.
  3. In a true emergency, dial 911.

The public is encouraged to report adverse reactions to VAERS, the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System.

Live Better. Live Balanced. Avera.

Avera is a health ministry rooted in the Gospel. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the lives and health of persons and communities by providing quality services guided by Christian values.

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