Rural Siouxland hospitals overcome limitations to distribute vaccines

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VERMILLION, S.D. (KCAU) — Rural area hospitals in Siouxland have continued to overcome hurdles surrounding the coronavirus. From limited testing, personal protective equipment shortages, to now limited vaccine access.

Each week Sanford Health Vermillion receives 100-200 dosages of the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Sanford and the South Dakota Department of Public Health right now are prioritizing 65 and above, so practically each week we go down in age group so we started with those 95 and above and just this week we are able to do 65 and above,” said Rachel Olsen, Director of Clinic Operation at Sanford Vermillion.

Distributing the vaccine is a slower and more intimate process for small town health care facilities.

“If you’ve been seen at Sanford in the last three years we have you on a list and we are communicating through different models like text messages, my Standford chart, phone calls, or even letters based on their preferred method of communication,” said Olsen.

It’s a similar trend for the Orange City Area Health System. They’ve been distributing 200-300 doses of the vaccine per week to those 65 and older.

“We like to have appointments scheduled specifically so that we can make sure every dose is used that comes out of each vile,” said Steve Walhof, the Director of Clinic Services, Orange City Area Health System.

But as more people get vaccinated, the hospitals are working overtime to get first and second doses out to patients.

“We are trying to administer vaccines Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays now next week we are going to be switching to Monday and Tuesday administering the first dose because we will be administering the second dose Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday so we will probably administer 500-600 vaccines next week,” said Walhof.

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