South Dakota hits halfway mark for vaccine-eligible people

Brookings County PPCC photo: Carrie Whitaker asks Dr. Merritt Warren, M.D., about medical concerns prior to receiving her second COVID-19 vaccination dose at the community vaccination center held at Swiftel Center. The Brookings County Pandemic Planning and Coordination Committee administered 1,300 second doses on April 8. Each recipient will be considered fully vaccinated against COVID-19 in two weeks. Two more first dose vaccination centers will be held on April 15 and 22. All South Dakotans age 18 and older are eligible and may register at brookingshealth.org/POD.

SIOUX FALLS (AP) – Half of South Dakota’s population age 16 and over has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the state’s Department of Health announced Saturday.

Health officials opened vaccine eligibility to anyone over age 16 last Monday. Nearly 300,000 in total have received at least a single dose of the vaccine, and about 70% of those people have completed their vaccinations.

“This milestone would not have been possible without the help of our healthcare professionals and all responsible South Dakotans who’ve chosen to be vaccinated,” Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon said in a statement. “Vaccinations is the quickest way out of this pandemic.”

However, Malsam-Rysdon warned that there has been a 7% jump in COVID-19 infections among people in their 20s over the last six weeks. From March 23 to April 5 alone, 479 cases were linked to this age group, totaling 19% of all identified cases, the state reported.

The state has reported 2,413 people with active infections, including 238 new cases on Saturday. There are 102 people in the hospital with COVID-19.

The SDDOH did not update its COVID-19 dashboard with new numbers on Sunday. Its website says the dashboard will now be updated Monday through Saturday, about noon each day.

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