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Southwestern District Health Unit gearing up for the second phase of vaccine rollout

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North Dakota is moving toward Phase 1B, the second phase of the North Dakota COVID-19 vaccine process.

But one question remains: How will that process work in rural areas?

The Southwestern District Health Unit is responsible for vaccine distribution in eight North Dakota counties including Bowman and Hettinger, with a majority of the population living in more rural areas.

“For those, let’s just use Hettinger County for example. They have not really necessarily a large clinic there, they have smaller clinics in these locations. But we will go there and be more of that regional place that will get the vaccines out,” said Sherry Adams, Executive Officer for Southwestern Health Unit.

Adams says the key to making sure everyone gets vaccinated is collaboration and partnership.

This means teaming up with local community medical partners, public health and pharmacists.

“So we’re going to connect with those groups first so that they can bring in their population they serve and we’ll also collaborate with our emergency managers. Our emergency managers also are going to play a huge role in this in the fact that they could help us bring some of those additional resources together,” explained Adams.

In the first group of Phase 1B are people who are 75 years old and older, but Adams says the older population are actually the ones more willing to get their shot.

“We’ve actually lived through the era where you got your polio vaccine and some of those where we had the diseases and so we’re more apt to say yes, give me this vaccine because we’ve kind of been through that,” shared Adams.

Each week 10,000 doses are set to be allocated from the State Health Department, but communication will play a huge role in notifying people when it will be their turn.

“Now if it were 20 year olds, social media might be the biggest way to reach those. But since it’s a little bit older population we’ll still use social media. But also radio and TV’s such as this,” explained Adams.

Adams says they’re expecting administer the shots at the end of January.

She says if you aren’t sure when it’s your turn you can always reach out to them.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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