Sanford health medical officer talks vaccine distribution progress

Sanford health medical officer talks vaccine distribution progress

FARGO — In the last White House Coronavirus Task Report under the Trump administration, North Dakota ranked 50th for new cases, and 49th for test positivity. The best and second best in the nation.

Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Sanford Health Dr. Doug Griffin says the turnaround is more to do with mask mandate and overall compliance with restrictions. 7% of North Dakotans have received the initial dose, trailing only behind Alaska and West Virginia for people being vaccinated.

Despite a limited supply nationwide, Dr. Griffin is optimistic about more vaccine. Johnson and Johnson is closer to its potentially “game-changing” vaccine. It only requires one dose, as opposed to two.

“I think the whole country is eagerly awaiting more options for vaccines and the more manufacturers, the more supply,” he said.

Griffin says as of January 21, a little more than 100 people in the 1-B category received the vaccine at the Community COVID-19 Vaccination Center in Fargo, where the Gordman’s used to be.

With the new COVID-19 variant detected in the Twin Cities, he says it may soon be in the Dakotas.

“It doesn’t really change the recommendation, it appears the variant is sensitive to the vaccine,” Griffin said. “We would not be surprised if we validated that it is in North And South Dakota.”

One situation they’re running into is someone getting the initial dose, but not coming back to receive the second dose.

“That is an issue and that sort of thing, so we’re working on getting documentation and trying to accommodate those with our allocated second doses,” Griffin said.

There’s also a Clay County COVID-19 vaccine event Friday, Jan. 22 for patients 75 and older, only to those notified via Sanford’s My Chart and who have set up an appointment.

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