Richland County commissioners updated on vaccine distribution

Nursing Director at the Richland County Health Department Pat Giese discusses vaccine distribution in Richland County with the county commission.

Approximately 260 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine have been distributed in Richland County, North Dakota, Nursing Director at the Richland County Health Department Pat Giese said at the Jan. 5 Richland County Commission meeting.

Prior to the meeting a vaccination clinic for first responders was held in the Mooreton Community Center, St. Gerard's Community of Care, Hankinson, for staff and residents. A small clinic at the health department, headquartered in Wahpeton, was also held.

As of Tuesday, Jan. 5, the Richland County Health Department has carried out more vaccinations at Benedictine Living Community in Wahpeton.

The Richland County Health Department is currently in phase 1A, tier 1A and 1B, of the state’s vaccine distribution plan. Hospitals and health clinics are in charge of vaccinating their own personnel, while the county prioritizes community vaccination.

For the health department phase 1A, tier 1A, prioritizes the vaccination of first responders, COVID-19 vaccinators, COVID-19 specimen collectors, urgent care staff and acute care clinic staff.

Phase 1A, tier 1B, which prioritizes the vaccination of long term care staff and residents.

“A good majority of our deaths have been related to long term care,” Giese said.

Sixty percent of COVID-19 deaths have occured in long term care facilities, she said.

Giese said she hopes to have moved into phase 1B within the next two to three weeks.

Phase 1B prioritizes, in order: people 75 years of age and older, people aged 65 - 74 with two or more high risk conditions, staff and people living in congregate settings, people 65 and older with one high risk medical condition, people 65 and older with and without a high risk medical condition and anyone with two or more high risk conditions regardless of age.

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine requires two doses 28 days apart. There is no maximum time between the first and second dosage where the second dose cannot be administered.

The health department has second doses of the vaccine ready after the first is administered.

The first dose of the vaccine is 80 percent effective, while the second dose of the vaccine is 95 percent effective, Giese said.

The Moderna vaccine provides ten doses per vial and once opened, a vial must be used within six hours.

The Moderna vaccine is also easy to store, Giese said. It can be refrigerated for 30 days compared to Pfizer's vaccine, which requires subzero temperatures for storage and faster turnarounds for second doses.

If you have had COVID-19 it is still recommended that you get vaccinated against it. There is a suspected 90 day period of immunity, Giese said.

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