COVID Testing and Vaccine Information Click here
Thursday, December 31, 2020 Last modified on January 22, 2021 @ 08:25 am Written by Jennifer Bender

COVID Vaccine Information

You might be wondering when you can get the COVID-19 vaccine.  Prairie Lakes Healthcare System is working with the Department of Health and others to distribute the vaccine to facilities in South Dakota. Providing access to the vaccine is key to ending the pandemic. Many residents in the counties we serve can look to their local clinic or hospital for when the vaccine will be available. In Codington County, local healthcare organizations and the Watertown Area COVID-19 Task Force are working together to distribute the vaccine according to the South Dakota Department of Health’s phased plan.

VaccineDistribution 1C 2

Phase 1: Prairie Lakes Healthcare System worked with the South Dakota Department of Health using guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to determine an action plan for phase 1, groups a - d. Prairie Lakes Healthcare System is part of the Northern Plains Network, a network of independent health systems in South Dakota. The vaccine is dispersed to some members of the Network to increase the reach of the vaccine in South Dakota. These members include Brookings Health System, Huron Regional Medical Center, and Madison Regional Health System. 

Not a Codington County Resident? View the South Dakota Map of Vaccine Providers View Minnesota's Vaccine Plan

Please note that Hamlin and Clark County residents will be notified by Sanford Health during this current portion of phase 1d.

For Codington County:

The Department of Health approves the implementation of each phase. Beginning January 18, Phase 1d will begin with the following criteria:

  • Individuals aged 80 and older
  • High-risk patients: dialysis, post-transplant, and active cancer
  • High-risk residents in congregate settings such as licensed independent living facilities and residents of licensed group homes

If you are a Codington County resident and are eligible to be in this group, you will be contacted directly if you are a patient of Brown Clinic, Sanford Clinic – Watertown, Prairie Lakes Specialty Clinic, or Prairie Lakes Cancer Center as the vaccine is available. Eligible congregate settings were identified by the Department of Health and are receiving the vaccine.

The vaccine arrives at each healthcare facility in limited increments and has a limited shelf life. This means that not everyone who is within each group approved by the Department of Health will be contacted at the same time. We appreciate your patience!

Codington County residents who are 80 years old or older and not a patient of Brown Clinic, Sanford Clinic, Prairie Lakes Specialty Clinic, or Prairie Lakes Cancer Center may sign up to be contacted using this form:

Create your own user feedback survey

Ultimately, whether or not you get your COVID-19 vaccine depends on the vaccine supply. You will receive a vaccine dose when there’s one available. Phase 1d is anticipated to roll out slowly through March as over 265,000 people are included in these groups statewide. 

COVID VaxAvailabilityTimeline

  Receive Email Notifications for Codington County

Frequently Asked Questions:

 Is it safe?

The vaccine followed thorough and additional safety protocols managed by the FDA.

COVID-19 Vaccine Safety: Two independent advisory committees [ACIP and the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC)] review vaccine safety data. ACIP also monitors post-market safety and effectiveness data for new vaccines. For COVID-19, ACIP has formed a separate Vaccine Safety Technical (VaST) Subgroup to provide timely evaluation of vaccine safety, both pre- and post-licensure.


Enhanced Safety Monitoring for COVID-19 Vaccines: In addition to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) and other systems routinely used by CDC and FDA to monitor vaccine safety, CDC is adding further monitoring programs for COVID-19 vaccines. Data on vaccinated healthcare workers will be collected through the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) system. The Vaccine Safety Assessment for Essential Workers (V-SAFE) program, a smartphone-based active surveillance system, will collect text- or web-based health checks from early vaccine recipients who volunteer to report for 6 weeks post-vaccination. Any clinically important event(s) reported by the vaccine recipient will be followed up and a VAERS report will be submitted, as appropriate.

Are the guidelines now relaxed?

It is vital to keep following guidelines. The best way to prevent COVID-19 spread is still by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and washing your hands frequently.

Why can’t I have the vaccine right now when others are receiving it?

Unfortunately, at this time, there is not enough vaccine for everyone who is requesting it. We are following best practice guidelines to distribute the vaccine to those who are most at risk, including those living in long-term care facilities. It is our hope to have enough vaccine for everyone requesting it during the spring of next year. The best way to prevent COVID-19 is by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and washing your hands frequently.

If I’ve had COVID-19, do I need a vaccination?

Yes, we are recommending all employees and community members to get the COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of whether they have recovered from a previous COVID-19 infection, once it is available to their group.

According to the CDC, there is not enough information currently available to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again; this is called natural immunity. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this.

Does the flu shot increase my chance of getting COVID?

The flu shot does not increase your chance of getting COVID-19. It actually decreases your chance of getting sick. A flu vaccine will not protect you from getting COVID-19, but it can prevent you from getting the flu at the same time as COVID-19. This can keep you from having a more severe illness. While it’s not possible to say with certainty what will happen in the fall and winter, CDC believes it’s likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading during that time. That means that getting a flu vaccine will be more important than ever.

How were groups allocated?

The vaccine is sent in limited doses. Vaccination priority lists have been made based on job duties and risk of COVID exposure. This means identified front line workers had access to the vaccine first and then as more vaccine arrives we will continue to vaccinate staff and others according to our eligibility criteria.

Read more FAQs from the Department of Health  Read about COVID vaccine benefits

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