SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — South Dakota vaccinations for COVID-19 have topped 15,000, state health officials reported Tuesday, Dec. 29.

Health workers have administered 15,830 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in South Dakota, split between 9,875 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and 5,955 doses of the Moderna vaccine.

State health officials have said there are about 19,000 people in the group picked to be first in line for the vaccine: front-line health care and long-term care workers, and they expect to wrap up vaccinating that group by the end of this week. Next in line: residents of long-term care facilities.

The state's running total of vaccinations doesn't include those federal administered by the Indian Health Service and the Veterans Administration.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are two-dose vaccines. The federal government has reserved a second and final dose of vaccines for all those getting a first dose.

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Tuesday's vaccination totals come as the state Health Department reports another 501 people in the state who have tested positive for COVID-19, raising the state's all-time total of people who have tested positive to 98,158, or about one in nine South Dakotans.

No new COVID-19 deaths were reported on Tuesday and no additional fatalities have been reported since Saturday, when the death toll rose 16 to 1,446. However, the Christmas holiday and the weekend may have caused death certificate reporting delays.

The state's COVID-19 death rate appears to be slowing. While South Dakota was frequently topped other states for the most deaths per capita over the last seven days, the state has slipped to eighth place, according to tracking by The New York Times.

A number of key measures show the state pandemic situation continues to improve from the COVID-19 surge that appears to have peaked in November. Active daily cases have declined to 5,738 as the number of new positive tests have slowed, well below the Nov. 15 peak of 19,360 and a number last seen since early October.

The tally of those hospitalized in South Dakota for COVID-19 ticked up for the second straight day, to 303 people, but is well below the Nov. 10 peak of 607.

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