South Dakota Department of Health

This chart was released by the South Dakota Department of Health Jan. 6.

The South Dakota Department of Health has released two tools designed to better inform South Dakotans on the ongoing COVID-19 vaccine distribution and administration process. These tools are in addition to the already available dashboard, which is updated daily.

“Working closely with our partners, we are ensuring a smoother experience for the end-user, even as federal vaccine allocations continue fluctuating,” said Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health. “I want to extend my gratitude to Avera Health, Mobridge Hospital, Monument Health, Northern Plains Health Network and Sanford Health, for their dedication and for being crucial partners in the fight against COVID-19 in our state.”

The first tool is a county-by-county map linking residents to the healthcare system(s) charged in overseeing vaccine distribution and administration in their area, in collaboration with the Department of Health. The provider for Union County is Avera.

The second provides residents an estimated timeline of vaccine availability, depending on which priority group they belong to. (See chart at right.)

“We will continue to innovate the ways we present information to the public and members of the media,” added Daniel Bucheli, Communications Director for the Department of Health. “Timely health-related information empowers citizens to make better decisions for themselves, their families and their businesses.”

What is missing from the release is how South Dakotans find out when and where they can be vaccinated. An email to Bucheli received this response:

“We are currently working on priority group C of our vaccination rollout,” the email read. “Those over 65+ with two or more underlying conditions would fall under priority group D – which we currently estimate will start in February depending on vaccine allocation. We will certainly have more information available as to when/where those in this group can obtain their vaccine at that time. We encourage you to point them to our website for the most up-to-date information and we will also be making this announcement traditional/social media channels when that time arrives.”

Watch the Leader-Courier for more information as it becomes available.