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Where do you fall in the new COVID-19 vaccine priority groups?

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The North Dakota Department of Health has now expanded its vaccine priority groups.

Now we’re in Phase 1A, which means healthcare workers, first responders and long-term care residents and staff are being vaccinated. People 75 and older are next in line to receive their shots.

The North Dakota Vaccine Ethics Committee has released an entire plan for who should receive COVID-19 vaccines, and when.

State Immunization Director Molly Howell says the next phase, 1B, could begin as early as mid-January.

“Really hard to predict when we’re moving to different phases because it’s depended on how much vaccines we receive as a state. And it’s also dependent on how many people in the earlier priority groups are willing to be vaccinated,” said Howell.

The next phase will start with people at least 75 years old.

Then, 65-and-older people with high-risk conditions. But to get that vaccine, you’ll have to pre-register.

“It’s not going to be like flu-vaccine where you can just go in at your convenience to be vaccinated. These vaccines have a short shelf life. And like I said, once you start using a vial it has to be used within six hours,” said Howell.

The pre-registration will also help public health departments, like Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health, which have to give the state an estimate of how many people will be vaccinated.

“We hope to continue to see those numbers increasing as we move on into the general public. And so when we’re allocated our amount from the State Health Department, we’ll know how many slots we can open for the week,” said Renae Moch, the Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health Director.

Bismarck-Burleigh Public Health is planning to hosts multiple vaccine clinics a week as more people begin to line up.

“If you started to think through the number of people that are going to be coming up into phases. And then we’re going to start having to do the second doses for the people that have gotten their first dose that have to come back in 28 days with Moderna vaccine,” said Moch.

Moch and Howell say that when you pre-register, you’ll be asked to list the high-risk medical conditions that make you qualify for vaccination.

So if you’re wondering if you qualify, you find the full list of qualifying medical conditions at this website: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html

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