PARK RAPIDS, MN (January 7th, 2021) – CHI St. Joseph’s Health Community Health/Hubbard County Public Health, began vaccinating community members included in the Phase 1a priority group this week after receiving a vaccine allocation from the Minnesota Department of Health. 40 first responders along with other healthcare workers received their first dose of the two-dose series on January 5, 2021.
Because the supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is expected to be limited at first, CDC has provided phase recommendations to federal, state, and local governments about who should be vaccinated first. The recommendations were made with these goals in mind: Decrease death and serious disease as much as possible; Preserve functioning of society; Reduce the extra burden COVID-19 is having on people already facing disparities.
Per the Minnesota Department of Health, Phase 1a includes hospital staff working with risk of exposure to COVID-19, long term care facility staff and residents, emergency medical services personnel, and other health care personnel at risk of exposure to COVID-19 including first responders, clinics, dental offices, pharmacies, and others at high risk due to their work in health care.
CHI St. Joseph’s Health Community Health has been allocated the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which can be stored at normal freezer temperatures, and when unopened, is stable in the refrigerator for up to 30 days. Allocations are currently limited, so at this time vaccinations are only being offered to the priority Phase 1a group. Community Health will continue to distribute vaccine to the Phase 1a priority group until approval for Phase 1b has been granted. The Moderna vaccine must be distributed in groups of 10, due to the availability of doses as well as storage and handling guidelines.
The Phase 1b group includes frontline essential workers such as fire fighters, police officers, corrections officers, food and agricultural workers, United States Postal Service workers, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, public transit workers, and those who work in the educational sector (teachers, support staff, and daycare workers.), and people aged 75 years and older because they are at high risk of hospitalization, illness, and death from COVID-19.
Per Community Health Director Marlee Morrison, “Community Health is excited to be vaccinating the first priority groups in Hubbard County. This vaccine rollout is the first step towards ending this pandemic. We will expand availability of the vaccine based on guidance we are given from the CDC and the Minnesota Department of Health. We look forward to the time in the coming weeks and months when the vaccine is more broadly available to the public. In the meantime, as the Hubbard County public health agent we are asking the residents of Hubbard County to continue taking precautions – wearing masks, staying home when sick, washing hands, and avoiding large gatherings.”