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ND health dept: vaccine administration is top priority

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The immunization program coordinator with the North Dakota Department of Health is pleased with how the state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout is progressing.

Molly Howell says in most areas of the state, residents aged 75 and older or 65 and older with two or more underlying health conditions are currently eligible to be vaccinated. But she says a site locator on the vaccine website can show not only where to get vaccinated, but which groups are currently being vaccinated in that area.

She says health care providers are advised to stick to vaccinating the eligible priority groups, but at the end of the day – getting those shots into arms is the main priority.

"These doses come in multi-dose vials, and sometimes providers are getting more doses out of the vials than expected. So for example with Pfizer vials, they're supposed to be five dose vials, but a lot of times people are getting six or seven doses. With Moderna, it's supposed to be ten, but they're getting eleven or twelve. And so when they have a plan for a set number of vaccinations in a day, and they get to the end of the day and have extra doses - we would rather them give those doses than waste them."

The state health department’s vaccine dashboard lists just under 10 percent of eligible residents as having had their first dose, and 3.5 percent of residents being covered by both doses. Howell says she hopes at least 70 percent of eligible residents will take the vaccine.

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