The COVID-19 vaccine rollout is speeding up, with the first doses opening up to people not working in healthcare or living in long-term care facilities.
Here are three things to know about how the rollout is going.
1 Percentage of vaccinated growing
More than 40,000 North Dakotans have been vaccinated against COVID-19 so far, including some who have had both doses of one of the newly approved vaccines. As of Thursday, Jan. 14, 41,293 North Dakotans have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine — that works out to about 5.7% of the population.
Locally, there have been 1,015 vaccine doses administered in Williams County, 164 in Divide County and 292 in McKenzie County. There were also 6,688 people who have gotten both doses of one of the approved vaccines, which is required for the highest level of protection.
2 Eligibility starting to expand
The state has created a priority list for who is eligible for the vaccine at a given time. The first group, called Phase 1A, included health care workers directly dealing with COVID-19 patients as well as residents and employees of long-term care facilities. Phase 1B is made up of a more diverse group.
Phase 1B includes older individuals, people with underlying health conditions, other congregate settings, child care workers, and employees of preschools and kindergarten through 12th grade. Phase 1C is made up of essential workers and people of any age at increased risk for COVID-19, while Phase 2 is the general public.
While there isn’t an official timetable for when phases will open up, the first people from Phase 1B had a chance to sign up for a clinic last week. The Upper Missouri Health District announced it had a limited number of doses for people 75 and older who are at elevated risk from COVID-19. That shipment has been used, but more are expected in the coming days.
3 How to get vaccinated
There are nearly 400 locations statewide approved to distribute doses of the vaccine, including 14 in Williams County and four each in Divide and McKenzie counties. They range from pharmacies to long-term care facilities and hospitals.
The state has also created a vaccine finder site so people can use to see what locations near them have vaccine available. In addition to whether the location has vaccine available, there is an explanation of what phase each location is in and who is currently eligible.
The vaccine finder is part of the NDDoH website, located at https://www.health.nd.gov/covidvaccinelocator