JIC offers update on local COVID-19 vaccine

As priority groups across the state of Minnesota begin receiving COVID-19 vaccinations, the Lyon County Joint Information Center encourages area residents to exercise patience and be informed so they are prepared when they have the opportunity to receive it themselves.
Lyon County, Southwest Health and Human Services (SWHHS), the City of Marshall and Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center collaborated to form the Joint Information Center early in the COVID-19 pandemic to streamline critical communication on the local response.
COVID-19 vaccines are currently being administered across the state to groups in phase-1a as outlines by the Minnesota Department of Health. SWHHS and Avera facilities in Marshall, Tyler and Granite Falls are collaborating to carry out this vaccination plan from the Minnesota Health Department at the local level. Avera Marshall is vaccinating health care workers and long-term care residents. SWHHS is vaccinating EMS workers and assisted living populations. In addition, some area long-term care facilities are working through large pharmacies for vaccines for staff and residents.
"We are thrilled to be at the point of beginning to administer a vaccine. It's a pivotal time in moving toward the end of the pandemic. It's a tremendous first step," said Ann Orren, SWHHS Community Public Health Supervisor.
"At the same time, we recognize there are many people in our communities who are eager to get the vaccines themselves. We don't know yet when it will be available to the general public. Due to limited supply, not everyone can get vaccinated right away. It is possible that healthy adults without risk factors might not receive the vaccine until this spring. At this time, we cannot predict a timeframe beyond the first several weeks."
Orren also points out that the other states may approach allocation in different ways or with different timelines. Local entities must follow the plan laid out by the state of Minnesota. Timing will be dependent on how quickly the state receives additional vaccine and how quickly organizations across the state are able to move through the phases.
Members of the Joint Information Center encourages eligible individuals to get the vaccine as soon as they have the opportunity.
Dr. Steve Meister, Chief Medical Officer, Avera Marshall, said: "The vaccines have undergone rigorous testing by the Food and Drug Administration to ensure safety and efficacy. The FDA is respected worldwide and its decision are made by expert scientists and physicians. Safety is their top priority. Data is showing effectiveness levels as high as 95 percent."
If anyone has questions about the COVID-19 vaccine, there is information available at www.avera.org/covid-vaccine.

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