COVID-19 Update January 22, 2021
Dear Friends of CHI St. Joseph’s Health:
Happy New Year! 2020 was a very challenging year for all of us and I want to thank everyone for their support of our staff and your efforts to help keep our community safe. While we continue to treat and hospitalize COVID-19 patients, we have seen a significant decline in cases over the past month and are hopeful that this trend continues.
A positive development in the fight against COVID-19 is the availability of vaccines to help prevent COVID. Two vaccines, one by Pfizer and one by Moderna, are currently authorized for use. Because the supply of vaccine was expected to be limited at first, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) provided recommendations and guidelines for who should be vaccinated first.
The initial priority group for vaccines were healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care. Over the past few weeks, local healthcare facilities together with local public health and pharmacies have worked to vaccinate individuals in that priority group.
CHI St. Joseph’s Health Community Health has seen an overwhelming interest in the COVID-19 vaccine. Our staff are receiving many questions about who can get the vaccine and when will it be available. Minnesota recently expanded priority groups for vaccination to include those age 65 and older, educators and childcare workers. This is in addition to the ongoing efforts to vaccinate remaining healthcare workers in the initial priority group.
At this point CHI St. Joseph’s Health Community Health continues to have a limited number of COVID-19 vaccine doses available and is working to assure all healthcare workers and long-term care and congregate living residents in our county have had the opportunity to be vaccinated. As more vaccine becomes available, Community Health will expand to other priority groups as directed by MDH.
Vaccine supply will determine how quickly expanded vaccination can be available. Minnesota is still working with an extremely limited supply of vaccine that is allocated weekly from the federal government. The reality is that we have far more Hubbard County residents eligible to get the vaccine than we have doses available. Once we receive more supply, we will be ready to administer it. We will communicate when vaccine becomes available for eligible individuals who are interested in receiving a vaccination.
At this time, it is still unclear how vaccines will be administered to the public. This may be done by Public Health, primary care clinics, and/or larger vaccination sites developed by the State. We will continue to follow MDH guidelines regarding vaccine administration. Everyone involved in the vaccination effort is eager to be able to bring this important vaccine to the general public as quickly and safely as possible.
In the meantime, here are some things to know:
- The federal government determines how many doses Minnesota will receive each week.
- The federal government is covering the cost of the COVID-19 vaccine.
- The COVID-19 vaccines currently available have been shown to be safe and effective. We strongly encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated.
- COVID-19 vaccination requires a second shot at 21 days for the Pfizer vaccine, or at 28 days for the Moderna vaccine.
- As vaccine for the public becomes available, we will communicate that information through media sources such as newspapers, radio, TV, social media and our website.
It is going to take a while for the vaccine to be available to everyone who wants it. In the meantime, be patient as priority groups are being vaccinated. It is important to continue to practice preventative habits such as wearing a mask, social distancing, washing your hands often and staying home if sick.
If you have additional questions about COVID-19 or how the COVID-19 vaccine is being distributed in Minnesota, please contact CHI St. Joseph’s Health Community Health, visit the Minnesota Department of Health’s website, or CHI St. Joseph’s Health website at www.CHISJH.org and follow us on Facebook.
Thank you for your continued trust in us. We are looking forward to better days in 2021. Please stay safe and stay healthy!
President, CHI St. Joseph’s Health
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