COVID-19 Vaccination Information
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Alert IconAll South Dakotans, ages 16 and older, are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine. Please visit our vaccination resources for more information.

COVID-19 Vaccination Information

All South Dakotans, ages 16 and older, are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

Schedule Your Appointment

Remember: The COVID-19 vaccine is available at no out-of-pocket cost to the recipient.


If You Need to Reschedule Your Vaccine Appointment

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

When you receive your first dose of a two-dose vaccine, 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 at 1-877-AT-AVERA.

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


    Dr. David Basel - COVID-19 Vaccine Update

    Q&A with Dr. Post about COVID-19 Vaccine Tier 1D

    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.

    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

    Are COVID-19 vaccines 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?

    According to the CDC, normal side effects include headache, fatigue, injection site soreness 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.

    How common are allergic reactions to the COVID-19 vaccine?

    Anaphylaxis, or severe allergic reactions, are extremely rare following a COVID-19 vaccine.

    Can someone with underlying conditions get the vaccine?

    The CDC recommends that individuals with underlying health issues, such as COPD, asthma, diabetes, etc., get the vaccine.

    Access and Timing

    What do I need to bring to my vaccine appointment?

    Please wear short sleeves and a mask and plan to practice social distancing. We will not ask for a driver’s license or ID, or for proof of insurance.

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

    No. To receive your first dose of a two-dose vaccine 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 of a two-dose vaccine, 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.

    What if I get my second dose in a two-dose series late, do I need to restart the series?

    No. The CDC says you can consider your series complete.

    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.

    The Vaccine and Your Health

    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 administering the second dose.

    COVID-positive patients must isolate for 10 days after symptoms first appear. They may then receive the second dose if their symptoms are improving and they’ve had no fever for 24 hours.

    Asymptomatic positive COVID patients must wait 10 days after a positive test to exit isolation and receive their 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. However:

    • You must quarantine for 10 days after exposure, then if you remain asymptomatic, you may exit quarantine.
    • You may exit quarantine in 7 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 re-administer 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?

    ACOG (American College of obstetricians and gynecologists) recommends COVID-19 vaccines not be withheld from pregnant individuals who meet the criteria for vaccination based on CDC-recommended priority groups.

    According to ACOG, 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 that would indicate that the vaccines should be withheld. The vaccines do not enter your cells so do not alter human DNA; therefore they 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 85-95% effective. For more discussion, pregnant women are encouraged to discuss with their physician.

    According to the CDC, there are no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in lactating people or the effects of vaccines on the breastfed infant or milk production/excretion. However, COVID-19 vaccines 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 any of the COVID-19 vaccines cause infertility.

    Are there known interactions with any medications, monoclonal antibody therapies or other vaccines?

    The CDC says the COVID-19 vaccine should be separated from other vaccines by at least 14 days before/after. If accidentally given closer to another vaccine, there is no need to repeat either vaccine.

    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?

    Different vaccine brands have received Emergency Use Authorization for individuals ages 16 and older or 18 and older. Your vaccination provider will ask for your birthdate to ensure you receive a vaccine that has been approved for your age group.

    Individuals with a severe allergic reaction (anaphylactic, etc.) to any prior vaccine or other intramuscular/subcutaneous/intravenous injection. This is a precaution and vaccination, if given, should be done in a closely monitored setting. However, if individuals experienced a less severe reaction, vaccine is recommended.

    Are there long-term effects from this vaccine?

    There is no evidence that any COVID-19 vaccine will cause long-term effects.

    After I am fully vaccinated, is it safe for me to be around those who have not had their vaccinations?

    Even after you are vaccinated, you may still be able to spread COVID-19 to others. To protect those around you, continue masking and social distancing, and consider limiting travel and gatherings, until we learn more. The purpose of getting the vaccine is to protect yourself from getting sick from COVID-19. If enough of us get vaccinated, we will eventually end this pandemic. However, there is no evidence that the vaccine prevents you from being a COVID-19 carrier, so you could still infect others. If you travel out of state, for example, you could bring back one of the variants to South Dakota.

    What happens if I contract COVID-19 after I have been vaccinated?

    If you are exposed to COVID-19 after you have been vaccinated, your body may be able to quickly fight it off. You may have either minimal symptoms or none at all, especially when compared to not having been vaccinated. Vaccines are not 100% effective so there is a small chance you could contract COVID-19.

    Does the vaccine protect against different strains of COVID-19?

    Several variants of the COVID-19 virus have been reported by the CDC. To date, data shows that all current vaccines are effective against all known variants, including the United Kingdom variant.

    Vaccine Cost

    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

    There have been media reports about the use of fetal cell lines in vaccine development. Are there ethical concerns with the COVID-19 vaccine?

    We appreciate any ethical concerns brought forward. Given the urgency of this crisis, inoculation with the currently available COVID-19 vaccines is consistent with Avera’s mission. We will continue to do our part to ensure timely and effective distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Patients will be informed of the vaccine brand when they schedule their vaccine.

    Recent guidance from the Vatican and US Bishops about COVID vaccines is available at:

    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

    Side effects like headache, fatigue, muscle aches, and mild fever are all common and show that the vaccine is working to build immunity. If you experience more serious symptoms 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.

    COVID-19 Vaccine Information in Different Languages

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    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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