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South Dakota health officials prepare for arrival of COVID-19 vaccine

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VERMILLION, S.D. (KTIV) - Health professionals at Sanford Health in South Dakota say they are prepared to easily and safely distribute the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.

Jeremy Cauwels, Senior Vice President of Quality, said as soon as they heard some of the vaccines needed to be kept in extremely cold temperatures, freezers were purchased for most of the larger central hospitals, as well as some of the larger locations across the Midwest.

He said they're used to handling many different kinds of vaccines.

Cauwels says two out of the three vaccines are more than 90% effective, and have a very unique process.

"That process takes messenger proteins called RNA, and allows you to make a vaccine that goes into your body, delivers the message, and dissolves, and so the concerns about what you might be putting into your body are considerably less of a concern," said Cauwels.

He said the state has laid out a specific order regarding how the vaccine will be given.

Frontline workers will be the first, then other healthcare workers, high risk patients, and then, all who are interested.

"We will be doing everything we can to make sure the right people get vaccinated as soon as possible," said Cauwels.

Cauwels said it's important to recognize they won't get all of the vaccines in one day and will follow a phased-in approach when rolling it out.

To learn more about how Iowa health officials are preparing for vaccines, click here. For more on vaccine prep in Nebraska, click here.

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Xava Parra

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