Checking in on COVID-19 vaccine efforts in the Northern Valley

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Published: Jan. 27, 2021 at 6:00 PM CST
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(Valley News Live) - It’s still slow going for Minnesotans and COVID-19 vaccine efforts.

“We’re ready, we’ve been ready and our citizens are ready, so we definitely need more vaccine,” Kayla Jore, Public Health Director of both Pennington and Red Lake Counties said.

Jore says between Pennington and Red Lake counties, there’s only around 100 doses delivered each week, but she says they’re both still on track to finish up Category 1A by the end of the week. Jore also says those 65 and older began getting vaccinated today in Red Lake County.

“It’s been slower than we’d like, but of course, the limited amount of vaccine makes it challenging and we’re not getting as much as we want,” she said.

Jore assured the lack of vaccinations is not due to the county’s lack of effort…

“As soon as we get it, we put it in people’s arms,” Jore said.

Meanwhile across the river, Grand Forks County says they’re receiving around 1200 doses each week and expect that to increase to 2400 doses soon.

“In a perfect situation, we’d be getting a lot more vaccines so we could just vaccinate everyone who wants it right away. It’s a really challenging situation to manage when you don’t have enough supply to meet up with the demand, but I think in North Dakota we’re in a really good place,” Haley Bruhn, Immunization Director at Grand Forks Public Health said.

“Every time you vaccinate someone it give you a little bit of a life and gets you through to the next day. I couldn’t be more pleased with the work they’ve done out there,” Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski said.

Bruhn and Jore say their counties are currently working on plans to get vaccine doses to those who are homebound and in the rural areas of the county.

Bruhn added Grand Forks Public Health is also working to help Polk County residents get vaccinated, as long as they are already an Altru patient.

All three tell Valley News Live they’re ready for the federal government to ramp up allocations to get us that much closer to the light at the end of the tunnel.

“I would love to see some normalcy by the Fourth of July. We just want to keep wrapping it up. We’re ready to go. Our lists are long enough to handle more vaccines, so the more we can get, we’re ready to pump it out to more people,” Mayor Bochenski said.

Grand Forks Public Health says they are now expanding to tier two of Category 1B, meaning those 65 to 74-years-old with at least two underlying conditions can get on the waitlist for sometime next week. To do so, you can call the county’s vaccine hotline at 701-780-6358.

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