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Coronavirus vaccinations start Dec. 21 for health care workers

Health officials anticipate the first doses of the coronavirus vaccine to arrive in Stutsman County next week.

The first doses of the coronavirus vaccine will arrive in Jamestown on Monday, Dec. 21 with distribution beginning that day, according to Robin Iszler, unit administrator for Central Valley Health District.

Iszler made the announcement during a press conference conducted by the health district Tuesday.

The health district is anticipating about 1,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine for Stutsman County initially. Food and Drug Administration approval of the Moderna vaccine is anticipated yet this week with distribution beginning immediately after that approval, Iszler said.

"... the doses in Stutsman County will go to enrolled providers, health care workers, emergency medical personnel and the people doing the vaccinations," she said.

Officials in the nursing homes in Jamestown also spoke at the same press conference. Those facilities are anticipating vaccinating the staff and residents during the week of Dec. 28. Staff members and residents at the nursing homes are being asked to review and sign consent forms this week in anticipation of the vaccines later this month.


Iszler said the Moderna vaccine is easier to store than the Pfizer vaccine that has already been approved by the FDA and has been distributed to some regional hospitals.

Normal freezer conditions are cold enough to transport and store the Moderna vaccine while the Pfizer product requires temperatures as cold as minus 80 degrees. The Moderna vaccine can also be stored in a standard refrigerator for up to 30 days after it has been defrosted.

There are other differences including that the second shot of the Moderna vaccine comes 28 days after the first while the Pfizer second shot can be given sooner.

Iszler said people who have had severe allergic reactions to other vaccines should consult their medical provider before getting a coronavirus vaccine. Most allergies, such as pets, dust or latex do not affect the coronavirus vaccines.

It is also not recommended to receive a coronavirus vaccination within 14 days of another vaccine such as a flu shot, Iszler said.

The vaccine is licensed for people 16 years of age or older and allowed for pregnant and breastfeeding women. People who have tested positive for COVID-19 should delay the vaccine until at least 90 days after they have recovered.

Initial rounds of vaccine distribution are limited to medical staff and nursing homes with more general distribution to follow, Iszler said.

"We anticipate using large facilities for those distributions," she said. "We ask people to be patient and monitor the Central Valley website for information."


People are also asked to continue to wear masks and practice social distancing after they have been vaccinated.

Mike Delfs, CEO of Jamestown Regional Medical Center, said the vaccine will protect people from becoming sick but may not prevent them from carrying the virus.

"It is not a free pass," Iszler said. "We need to still take protective measures."

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