Vaccine is “the encouragement that we need”

It’s a limited rollout of the vaccine, but a rollout nonetheless.
Published: Dec. 16, 2020 at 5:43 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - It’s a limited rollout of the vaccine, but a rollout nonetheless.

Both medical and state leaders are imploring people to get the vaccine and get it quick.

During Gov. Doug Burgum’s, R-N.D. weekly briefing, frontline health care workers received the COVID-19 vaccine and remarked on the role it’ll play in their lives and the lives around them.

“This has been a very dark, depressing, hopeless time for many of my friends in the health care field. I’ve seen renewed excitement and energy in them over the past couple of weeks knowing that this vaccine is coming. This is the encouragement that we need to know that there is light coming at the end of the tunnel,” said Dr. Laura Archuleta, CHI St. Alexius physician and medical staff president.

State and health leaders say that the vaccine is the key to lowering hospitalization, which has already been trending downwards.

The State Heath Department reported 117 fewer hospitalizations compared to their last report.

However, they said much of it was caused by a catch-up by case workers after a surge in October and November put many case workers behind in updates.

COVID-19 restrictions remain in-place for now, and that’s to keep hospitalization rates down during the holidays.

“We’re worried about all gatherings. Whether they’re in public establishments, public places, or in homes, because transmission can happen at any place. I think that traditionally in North Dakota, as North Dakotans we gather for holidays,” Burgum said.

On Thursday, the federal government is expected to review and approve the Moderna vaccine, which North Dakota has already ordered 13,000 doses of.

While infection rates and hospitalizations are on the downswing, the death rates remain about the same.

Burgum said with hospitalizations heading downwards, he prays death rates will follow.

While trust in the vaccine is on the rise, there are still some who are reluctant, and Wednesday’s news conference was designed to help allay those fears.

Health care workers were the first in line for inoculations, and those who received it said the vaccine rollout has given a new sense of optimism to their workers.

Those in attendance Wednesday even said they got goosebumps.

For the past few months, hospitals and clinics have been, by their own words, overwhelmed by the demand for health care.

The numbers, thankfully, are starting to go the right way, but officials are warning against getting complicit this holiday season before they get the vaccine.

“At Thanksgiving, we saw families taking different approaches, and I think the results of that are being shown in the decline that’s here. And so, as we head into the holidays... let’s keep the success going that we’re having being smart,” Burgum said.

The CDC recently shortened the quarantine period for travelers, just in time for the holidays. But doctors are continuing to push safety and caution, because the vaccine doesn’t reach full effectiveness for the public until at least 70% of people take it.

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