Department of Health reiterates priority groups; launches vaccine locator
BISMARCK – The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) reported Friday that vaccine priority groups originally announced on Dec. 31 will remain in effect. The reminder was issued in response to the federal government’s recommendation earlier this week that states expand the range of individuals immediately eligible to receive the vaccine, while noting it remains the state’s decision.
“North Dakota has had a successful start to COVID-19 vaccination,” said NDDoH Immunization Director Molly Howell. “Continuing with the priority groups established by the North Dakota COVID-19 vaccination ethics committee ensures that our most vulnerable are accessing vaccine first. North Dakota is continuing to receive less than 10,000 doses per week, so opening up vaccination to large groups of individuals is not possible at this time, but we strongly encourage those in the priority groups to get vaccinated as they become eligible.”
The state also unveiled a way for individuals to find vaccine in their area. More information can be found at health.nd.gov/covidvaccinelocator. Individuals can search by providers in their area and see which provider group they’re serving. Health care providers receiving vaccine directly from the federal government, including Indian Health Services and the Veterans Administration, are not included on the locator, but may have vaccine available.
“Different areas of the state may be vaccinating different priority groups,” said Howell. “It’s important that the public remain patient and pay attention to local information about vaccine availability. Everyone who wants a vaccine will get one eventually.”
North Dakotans should watch their local media and social media channels for health care facilities, pharmacies and local public health departments for more information on the status of vaccine administration in their area.
Health care providers, local public health units and pharmacies have been told they can move to Phase 1B when they’re ready. Some may still be working through Phase 1A, comprised of frontline health care workers, first responders and long-term care residents and staff. Below are the following phases.
Phase 1B (in order of priority):
Persons age 75 and older
Persons age 65 – 74 with two or more high-risk medical conditions
Staff and persons living in other congregate settings (i.e., corrections, group homes, treatment centers, homeless shelters, etc.)
Persons age 65 and older with one or more high-risk medical conditions
Persons age 65 and older with or without high-risk medical conditions
Persons with two or more high-risk medical conditions regardless of age
Child care workers
Workers employed by preschools or Kindergarten through 12th grade:
Teachers, nutritional services, aides, bus drivers, principals, administrative staff, custodians, etc.
Phase 1C (in order of priority):
North Dakota National Guard, not previously covered
Public safety answering points (911)
Manufacturing related to the development or supply of COVID-19 vaccine
Other health care/public health workers not included in phase 1A
Free standing clinical laundries
Public transit, including bus, taxi, ride-share
Persons age 16 – 64 with one or more high-risk medical conditions
Blood bank workers not previously vaccinated
All other essential workers per Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)
North Dakota ranks No. 1 in the nation in percentage of doses administered (67.6%) out of those received. For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, visit http://health.nd.gov/covidvaccine.