South Dakota Health Leader On How The State Has Gotten Its Vaccine Out

South Dakota has offered about 75% of the vaccine doses its received, a high rate amongst states.

Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

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Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

South Dakota has actually provided about 75% of the vaccine doses its gotten, a high rate among states.

Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Pool/AFP by means of Getty Images

Dr. Shankar Kurra is vice president of medical affairs at Monument Health Rapid City Hospital in Rapid City. The Monument Health system is accountable for dispersing the vaccine for the entire western half of South Dakota. While centralization of the process did posture some logistical difficulties, Kurra states, overall, the process– of distributing from a central point straight to vaccination sites– was essential to getting dosages out effectively in his part of the state.

A few months earlier, South Dakota remained in the news for its increasing coronavirus case numbers and deaths. Its a rural, less populous state. But the disproportionately high caseload strained the health care system.

When it comes to getting the dosages from warehouse into individualss arms, South Dakota is in the top handful of states. Its administered roughly 80,000 of the 106,000 doses its received so far, or 75%. Nationwide, that number is about 53%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Centralization “made it simpler,” he says, “due to the fact that we then had from one location to dispense that and message it out and make sure people got it.”

Though to be clear, South Dakota has received far less overall doses than almost every other state, so there has been less vaccine to get out.

Now, as day-to-day case numbers continue a down trend across the country, the state is notable once again, however for a various factor: the success of its vaccine rollout.

Kurra states Monument Health has been getting approximately 3,000 vaccines a week and by the end of the week is able to administer all of it. He says the state objective is for at least 80% of South Dakotans to get vaccinated, which at the current rate might happen in the late summer or fall.

In an interview on All Things Considered, Kurra discusses South Dakotas development on vaccinations. Here are excerpts:

I think so. One of the things we discovered was this huge increase in numbers in November. Per capita-wise South Dakota was leading all the states, both in numbers of cases, number of hospitalizations, regrettably, even in variety of deaths. I think it made a significant impression on the collective memories of South Dakotans and truly, in my viewpoint, led a great deal of folks to say, “If the vaccines out, I require it, and I will take it.” And we likewise had folks leading up to the vaccine asking when it would be here. And once it got here, we got a great deal of e-mails, texts, telephone call from everyone wishing to get the vaccine. So I think it contributed.

Do you believe since individuals in South Dakota saw such a massive outbreak just back in November, it in fact encouraged much of them to get the vaccine as quickly as it was available to them?

What have been the biggest hurdles so far in distribution?

And we have to justify that, certainly. And then also ask us what [vaccination phase] we remain in. So on Tuesday, the state actually allocates and sends it out. So by Wednesday, weve got a list drawn, schedules opened, and Thursday and Friday it actually gets steam. Its kind of a sluggish start, however then youve got to get it all done.

I think not understanding what the number would be. So Ill give you a quick timeline on how we do this. … Monday is when the state asks each health system– there are three in South Dakota, Monument being among them– and they ask us: Hey, hows it going? Where do you believe you require more numbers?

The Monument Health system is responsible for distributing the vaccine for the whole western half of South Dakota. And we likewise had folks leading up to the vaccine asking when it would be here. And when it got here, we got a lot of e-mails, texts, phone calls from everybody wanting to get the vaccine. We made sure we have daily forums at 2 oclock that educates folks about the security and the effectiveness of this vaccine. And so a little bit of that is: How rapidly, how versatile, how agile is the decision-making at the point of delivering those vaccines?

Can you speak about any of the lessons that youve learned so far that you can provide to other states that are having a hard time a bit more with dispersing the vaccine?

We made sure we have everyday forums at 2 oclock that informs folks about the security and the effectiveness of this vaccine. I believe getting them quick, not stressing too much about, you know, if you offer 5 dosages and you have an extra dosage, discover somebody. And so a little bit of that is: How quickly, how versatile, how nimble is the decision-making at the point of providing those vaccines?

Jonaki Mehta and Christopher Intagliata produced and edited the audio interview. James Doubek produced for the Web.