Starting the week of January 18, Fargo Cass Public Health (FCPH) expects to begin vaccine distribution for priority groups identified by the North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) in Phase 1B of the North Dakota COVID-19 Vaccination Plan. Priority groups in Phase 1B include older individuals and those with underlying health conditions. FCPH is nearing completion of vaccine distribution for priority groups in Phase 1A, which includes healthcare workers, first responders and long-term care residents.
Healthcare providers who are distributing COVID-19 vaccine will be reaching out to their patients with information about when individuals can schedule an appointment to receive vaccine. We encourage residents to watch for communication from their healthcare providers and to visit provider websites for the most up-to-date information. In situations where a resident does not have a healthcare provider, or if COVID-19 vaccine will not be available through their provider, Cass County residents may utilize the COVID-19 Vaccine - Phase 1B Resident Contact Form to share their information with FCPH. This will allow for future communication of vaccination opportunities to residents in Phase 1B priority groups, as those opportunities become available. FCPH is an enrolled provider for COVID-19 vaccine and follows NDDoH recommendations and guidance related to distribution of the vaccine.
Suzanne Schaefer, FCPH Director of Nursing, says, “While we look forward to providing this important vaccine to some of our most high-risk residents in the coming weeks, we also ask for continued patience of the community as it will take some time before we are able to move to the next priority groups. We are working to provide safe and controlled vaccination clinics for Cass County residents as their priority group comes to the top of the list. Multiple vaccine opportunities will become available as the weeks progress.”
Members of the community are encouraged to assist in this important effort by checking in with family and/or friends in Phase 1B priority groups to inquire whether they have been in touch with their healthcare provider.
Phase 1B includes the following (in order of priority):
- Persons age 75 and older
- Persons age 65 – 74 with two or more high-risk medical conditions
- Staff and persons living in other congregate settings (i.e., corrections, group homes, treatment centers, homeless shelters, etc.)
- Persons age 65 and older with one or more high-risk medical conditions
- Persons age 65 and older with or without high-risk medical conditions
- Persons with two or more high-risk medical conditions regardless of age
- Child care workers
- Workers employed by preschools or Kindergarten through 12th grade: teachers, nutritional services, aides, bus drivers, principals, administrative staff, custodians, etc.
In order to best protect those receiving the vaccine as well as the community at large, it is of utmost importance that individuals receive both doses of vaccine. The Moderna vaccine requires two doses separated by 28 days; the Pfizer vaccine requires two doses separated by 21 days. Vaccine record cards will be provided as documented proof of vaccination and should be kept in a safe location.
When priority groups in the next phase become eligible to receive vaccine, Fargo Cass Public Health will communicate that information to the community through local media, its website FargoCassPublicHealth.com and social media channels.
Residents should continue practicing recommended public health prevention measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, which include wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance, good hand hygiene and staying home when sick. Additionally, residents are also encouraged to rely on credible sources for reliable information about COVID-19 vaccine. Both the North Dakota Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide information on this important topic.