By Associated Press - Monday, January 18, 2021

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota health officials say the state on Monday is launching the next phase of coronavirus vaccinations.

Phase 1D includes people 65 years and older, beginning with those who are 80 and older. 1D also includes high-risk patients, including those on dialysis and post-transplant recipients.

Avera Medical Group vice president Dr. David Basel calls it a “soft launch” of the next phase because there are some people in Phase 1C that still need to be vaccinated, KELO-TV reported.

Basel offers some numbers which put the effort into context.

“It’s also important to keep in mind that overall, there’s 250,000 individuals in 1D, and we’re getting 11,000 doses a week. So it’s going to take us a while even when we are fully into 1D to get everybody done,” Basel said. “So we’re asking a lot, lot of patience.”

The vaccine rollout continues, balancing medicine with speed.

“I know we’ve had a lot of interested people calling in, saying when can I get on and stuff like that, and so even in the 80 and above group, it’s going to take us several weeks to get through that group I suspect, and so we’ll get there as fast as we can,” Basel said.

South Dakota health officials on Monday confirmed 116 positive COVID-19 tests and 11 deaths due to the coronavirus in the last day, bringing the total number of cases to 94,652 and the cumulative fatalities to 1,667.

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