As COVID cases currently remain low within the county, the newest thing on the minds of those at Kittson County Public Health is an announcement from the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) on March 31. What announcement is that exactly?
The CDC gave notice of new messenger RNA booster vaccines.
“That really captured a lot of our attention just in the last week here,” Kittson County Public Health Director Jeanna Kujava said, “trying to decipher who… these additional booster doses are going to be for and how do we make that accessible to people.”
Kujava talked about this latest vaccine booster, the county’s latest vaccination efforts, including the attendance at the county’s latest vaccine clinics, the latest COVID case count and vaccine numbers, and what more she has learned about COVID since her last visit with the North Star News.
At the time of this latest booster shot, the county had happened to be planning vaccine clinics for April.
“I’m hoping that the dates that the rural health clinic and with Kittson Healthcare in Karlstad and in Hallock, as well as our public health clinics will meet the demand,” Kujava said.
On April 8 at the Hallock Clinic, it offered a public health clinic for the Moderna vaccine for those 18 and older, including first and second booster doses. On this day, the Hallock Clinic also offered the Pfizer vaccine for ages 12 and older; it will be offering this every three weeks following this date. The Karlstad Clinic hosted a clinic on April 12 for the Pfizer vaccine and will do so every three weeks following this date.
If it has been four months since one’s first booster dose, he or she is eligible to get that second booster dose. Those 50 and older and those 12 years of age and up who are immunocompromised are eligible for this second booster dose.
“If you’re questioning anything, certainly talk to your healthcare provider,” Kujava said, “and just visit about that to see if that’s a good idea for you if you’re unsure.”
As Kujava explained, after one receives the first two doses, he or she has completed the primary series. The first booster dose, for example that of the Moderna vaccine, is given about five months after completing that primary series.
“Now they’re recommending a second booster,” Kujava said, “so that would be four months after your first booster.”
Upcoming primary and booster shot vaccination opportunities include:
• The Karlstad Clinic will be offering the pediatric Pfizer vaccine for ages 5-11 on Tuesday, April 19 and every three weeks after this date. To schedule an appointment, contact clinic registration at 218-436-2251.
• The Hallock Clinic will be offering the Pfizer pediatric vaccine for ages 5-11 on Wednesday, April 20 and every three weeks following this date. To schedule an appointment, contact clinic registration at 218-843-2165.
• The Kittson Healthcare Public Health Department will be offering the Moderna vaccine for ages 18 and up from 3:00-4:00 pm at the Karlstad Clinic building. To schedule an appointment, contact hospital registration at 218-843-3612.
As far as cases, Kittson County is at moderate level of tranmissibility or positivity. The CDC community level chart often has the county in the low category, a standing that has remained since throughout the month of March.
“We’ve got low transmission, and we’re getting more vaccinated with each month that passes,” Kujava said. “There’s more work to be done, but we’re well over 50% vaccinated and that’s a good thing.”
Speaking of vaccinated individuals, the county, as of April 8, had 2,450 individuals who had completed their primary COVID vaccine series— a number Kujava referred to as “pretty good.”
“Some people aren’t eligible and then there’s at least 100 more that they reflect that have at least one dose,” Kujava said. “… Hopefully, we’ll hit, you know, closer to that 75% (vaccination rate) soon of the community overall.”
To see the complete story, read the April 14 issue of the North Star News in print or online.