On the fence about getting the COVID-19 vaccine?
Maybe this will tip the scales: If you’re a parent with kids in school, being vaccinated will save you the hassle of having to miss work and quarantine for several weeks if your child tests positive for COVID-19.
“There’s still pandemic out there -- the quarantine requirements haven’t changed,” noted Detroit Lakes City Administrator Kelcey Klemm. “It’s kind of a reminder for staff,” he added. “If you’re vaccinated, you don’t need to quarantine if you’ve had close contact with someone who is COVID-positive.”
COVID-19 hasn’t gone away, and in fact case numbers remain relatively high: There were 122 active cases in Becker County on Thursday, and 97 active cases in Otter Tail County, according to public health services in those counties.
Need a completely different reason to get vaccinated? How about door prizes?
Essentia Health St. Mary’s-Detroit Lakes is giving Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 shots to anybody who walks in on Saturday, May 1, from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the North Campus building, located at 114 E Frazee St.
You don’t have to be an Essentia patient, and to sweeten the shot, local businesses have donated a variety of prizes to be given away.
Get a vaccination on Saturday, or accompany someone getting a shot, and you can enter a drawing for one of the donated door prizes. In fact, anyone who has received a vaccine between April 25 and May 1, at any location, can stop by the vaccination clinic on Saturday and show their vaccination card to enter the drawing.
Patients who are 16 or 17 must bring this consent form, signed by their parent or legal guardian, to be eligible for the shot. COVID vaccines are not yet available for those under age 16.
Face masks are still required for customers entering Minnesota businesses, including the Detroit Lakes city liquor store, so be kind to employees who are only enforcing the rules to keep people safe, Klemm said.
In the last month or so, whether because of covid fatigue or some other reason, people have become more combative when asked to put on a mask when they enter the liquor store, Klemm said.
Minnesota is doing better than surrounding states when it comes to people getting vaccinated, and Becker County is no exception: As of April 27, 79% of people age 65 and older have received at least one COVID-19 shot, according to state health data.
In neighboring counties, that percentage is 74% in Otter Tail, 69% in Hubbard, 75% in Clay, 96% in Mahnomen, 81% in Wadena, 74% in Clearwater, and 63% in Todd.
Half of Becker County residents age 16 and up have been vaccinated so far, according to state vaccine data.
In neighboring counties, that percentage is 47% in Otter Tail, 42% in Hubbard, 39% in Clay, 61% in Mahnomen, 45% in Wadena, 41% in Clearwater, and 37% in Todd.
Although some young, healthy people might feel there is no reason to get vaccinated, the idea is to stop passing COVID-19 from person to person until it hits somebody who will get seriously ill or die from it.
“Most people won’t die from COVID, but a vaccine will prevent the spread, and the goal is to protect the most vulnerable,” said Dr. Michael Baule, who works at Sanford in Detroit Lakes. “Unless there are counter-indicators (such as a severe allergic reaction to an earlier vaccine), we encourage all to get it.”
He said he has noticed some COVID-19 vaccine reluctance among patients, but “not necessarily more than the other vaccines we have, that are known to work and prevent disease,” he said.
Sanford is going to restore the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and make it available to patients, after it was determined very rare problems with blood clots aren’t related to the vaccine. “It really was not a relevant thing,” he said.
Vaccination is the best opportunity to end the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Essentia Health. Vaccines have been proven effective and safe. A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were about 90% effective at preventing COVID infection, and nearly 100% effective at preventing hospitalizations and death.