COVID-19 vaccine likely coming to North Dakota week of December 14th
Vaccines will be available from pharmacies, public health and private health care providers
NORTH DAKOTA — The North Dakota Department of Health says two COVID-19 vaccines could make their way to the state this month.
The FDA will discuss approving Emergency Use Authorization for the Pfizer vaccine next Thursday.
Discussions about Moderna will take place the following week.
“A vaccine will likely be in North Dakota the week of December 14th, and providers will start administering it once they’re educated on all of the recommendations on how the vaccine should be administered and used,” says North Dakota Department of Health Immunizations Director Molly Howell.
Initially, the state will receive 6,825 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 13,000 of the Moderna vaccine, which will be prioritized for health care workers at major hospitals and those living in long term care facilities.
Other essential workers, people 65 and older and those with underlying health conditions will then follow.
“I just want to encourage everyone to be patient and if you’re not in one of the high risk groups, it’s probably not going to be until next spring or summer that you’ll have access to the vaccine,” Howell explains.
Health experts are hoping for a 70% vaccination rate in the state once the vaccines are widely available.
“Choosing not to be vaccinated means choosing to likely get COVID-19 in the future as this pandemic continues to march through the population,” says Dr. Paul Carson, an infectious disease specialist and public health professor at NDSU.
Carson says that would mean thousands of more North Dakotans hospitalized and hundreds more dead.
Although some are concerned about the safety of these immunizations, he says there’s no reason to worry.
“The name Operation Warp Speed, I think meant to instill optimism, may have actually instilled a little bit of concern about, ‘Have they come out too fast?'”
Operation Warp Speed, he says, simply refers to speeding up the production process without sacrificing the safety of the vaccines.
Short term side effects after getting a COVID-19 vaccine like a fever, headache and fatigue are possible.
The vaccine is fully funded by the federal government and is free to the public.