PIERRE, S.D. — South Dakota will soon throw open access to the COVID-19 vaccine for those with a single underlying medical condition, providing faster and broader access to the vaccine than previously planned, state health officials said Wednesday, Feb. 24.

At the moment, only those age 65 and older, as well as those with certain high-risk conditions or situations qualify for COVID-19 vaccines distributed through the state, a portion of a priority group known as group 1D.

The next group up for the vaccine previously would have been those with two underlying medical conditions. But the state's decision to soon lower the bar to get the vaccine from two to one underlying medical conditions reflects officials' optimism at vaccination progress in the state, said state Health Secretary Kim Malsam-Rysdon, on a media briefing call.

"We're really excited about it, because this really represents the progress we're making through the 1D population, which, as you recall, is quite large," she said.

Healthcare organizations administering the vaccines around the state will begin making appointments with qualified candidates of the new vaccine group next week and no later than March 8, Malsam-Rysdon said.

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The 18 underlying medical conditions required for access to the vaccine include asthma, cancer, diabetes, Down Syndrome, high blood pressure, pregnancy and severe obesity, among others. A full list is available on the Department of Health's website: doh.sd.gov/COVID/Vaccine/medicalconditions.

The state Department of Health has been told by the Biden administration to expect a larger shipment of vaccines next week, up 1,170 doses to 18,830, Malsam-Rysdon said.

"We continue to make very good progress on our vaccination efforts," she said.

The following are the South Dakota Department of Health COVID-19 case rates, deaths, hospitalizations and vaccinations as of Wednesday, Feb. 24. Because all data is preliminary, some numbers and totals may change from one day to the next.

Statewide case rates

  • NEW CASES: 262 (seven-day daily average: 136)
  • TOTAL ACTIVE CASES: 1,891
  • TOTAL CASES: 111,808
  • TOTAL RECOVERED: 108,053

  • DAILY TEST POSITIVITY RATE: 11%

Hospitalizations, deaths

  • NEW HOSPITALIZATIONS: 22

  • ACTIVE HOSPITALIZATIONS: 102

  • TOTAL HOSPITALIZATIONS: 6,570

  • DEATHS, NEWLY REPORTED: 1

  • TOTAL DEATHS: 1,864

Vaccinations

  • FIRST DOSE ADMINISTERED: 127,096, total: 22% of population*

  • COMPLETED SERIES (2 doses): 64,778, total: 10.91% of population*

*(Vaccine total based on state distribution. Percentage includes vaccines given to South Dakota residents through federal programs, including IHS and VA)

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