SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Avera Health is now offering COVID-19 vaccination booster shots, after they were approved by federal authorities late last week for people aged 65 and older and those in high-risk groups.

The Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based health system began offering the Pfizer vaccine booster shots at its facilities on Friday, Sept. 24, its leaders announced.

“Giving these people the immune boost they need will help reduce their risk and bring us out of the pandemic,” said Dr. David Basel, vice president for clinical quality for Avera Medical Group, in a news release. “This comes at a time when we’re all getting our flu shots. If you’re eligible, get your COVID booster at the same time to protect yourself against both these potentially deadly viruses.”

The booster is available to people:

  • 65 years of age and older
  • Living in long-term care facilities
  • 18-49 years old with underlying medical conditions based on individual benefits and risks
  • 50-64 years of age at high risk of severe COVID-19 because of underlying medical conditions such as cancer, COPD, heart conditions, obesity, past and present smokers, and pregnancy or recent pregnancy
  • 18-64 who are at increased risk for COVID due to their occupation or institutional setting. This includes: essential workers: health care workers, teachers, day care staff, grocery workers and those in homeless shelters, long-term care facilities and prisons; paid and unpaid workers who interact with people within less than 6 feet of others; unpaid caregivers of a frail or immunocompromised person; people living in congregate settings such as prisons or homeless shelters
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Avera Health's footprint includes six large medical centers, in Marshall, Minnesota, and Aberdeen, Mitchell, Pierre and Sioux Falls in South Dakota, with a total of 35 hospitals and 215 clinics in Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the third Pfizer booster shot on Sept. 23. Those vaccinated with the two-dose Pfizer vaccine (not Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines) are recommended to get the booster shot at least six months after getting their second shot.

For information about where to get the booster shot, or get vaccinated against COVID-19 in general, visit the South Dakota Department of Health vaccine website: doh.sd.gov/COVID/Vaccine/ and click "Vaccine Locations."

The following are the state Department of Health COVID-19 case rates, deaths, hospitalizations and vaccinations tracked by the CDC as of Monday, Sept. 27. All data is the latest available but should be considered preliminary and could be updated at a later date by health officials.

Vaccinations

  • INITIAL DOSE ADMINISTERED (IF 2-DOSE VACCINE): 519,711 people, 58.7% of state's population

  • FULLY VACCINATED: 454,562 people, 51.4% of state's population

Statewide case rates

  • NEW CASES: 383 (seven-day daily average: 479)
  • CURRENT ACTIVE CASES: 7,588
  • TOTAL CASES: 143,183
  • TOTAL RECOVERED: 133,466

Hospitalizations, deaths

  • NEW HOSPITALIZATIONS: 24 (seven-day daily average: 26)

  • ACTIVE HOSPITALIZATIONS: 184

  • TOTAL HOSPITALIZATIONS: 7,314

  • DEATHS, NEWLY REPORTED: 4

  • TOTAL DEATHS: 2,219

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