Avera Health launches online appointment option for COVID-19 vaccines in South Dakota

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This Dec. 2, 2020 photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. The nation is poised to get a third vaccine against COVID-19, but health officials are concerned that at first glance the Johnson & Johnson shot may not be seen as equal to other options from Pfizer and Moderna. (Johnson & Johnson via AP)

ELK POINT, S.D. (KCAU) – With South Dakota health officials opening COVID-19 vaccinations to group 1E, Avera Health has launched online appointments for the public.

Group 1E includes fire service personnel and other critical infrastructure workers in the following areas:

  • Water and wastewater
  • Energy
  • Finance
  • Food service
  • Food and agriculture
  • Legal
  • Manufacturing
  • Shelter and housing
  • Transportation and logistics
  • Information technology
  • Communications

South Dakota residents who are seeking vaccination can click here and click on the online form to sign up for a vaccine appointment.

The hospital said there’s a chat feature in English and Spanish to help people determine if they’re eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

After you answer screening questions to ensure you qualify for the vaccine, you select your community and see the available appointment times, which will indicate the manufacturer of the vaccine.

Health officials said there’s a high demand for the vaccines in some locations and if no appointments times are displayed that all of the appointments have been filled.

Avera is asking people to check back later as more appointments will be added as the vaccine allocations are received and there’s no out-of-pocket cost for the vaccines.

“Avera is operating vaccine clinics in numerous communities across South Dakota, and we’ve designed our website to match people who qualify with available vaccine appointments. If you don’t find an available appointment, please try back again, because demand currently is high,” said David Basel, MD, Vice President of Avera Medical Group Quality.

People in groups 1A-1D can also sign up for the vaccine appointments if they haven’t been vaccinated yet. Those groups include the following:

  • Health care and EMS workers
  • Law enforcement
  • People age 65 and older
  • People with underlying medical conditions
  • School or college teachers or staff
  • High-risk residents in congregate living environments
  • Funeral service workers

Health officials said people need to be vaccinated in the state in which they live or work. In South Dakota, Avera and other health systems are partnering with the State of South Dakota to distribute the vaccines.

If you live outside of the state, Avera said to check your state’s COVID vaccine website to learn about scheduling vaccination in Iowa, Minnesota, or Nebraska.

“We encourage people to look into all options in your community and/or county and get the vaccine as soon as it is available to you. All approved vaccines are proven to be safe and effective,” said Basel.

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