BEMIDJI — Sanford Health locations in Bemidji and Bagley have begun administering the COVID-19 vaccine to individuals, beginning with patient’s 65-years and older.

“We are excited to begin offering the COVID-19 vaccine to the public and take the next step toward ending this pandemic,” said Dr. David Wilcox, chief medical officer and primary care physician.

After receiving approval from the regional health coalition and the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) to move ahead, Sanford Health plans to offer vaccinations over the course of the next week as more vaccines from the state become available. Right now, the supply is very limited.

It is important that patients do NOT call Sanford Health locations to make a vaccination appointment, unless they have received a communication instructing them to do so.

“As we begin this next phase, please know that not all patients will be able to get their vaccine at the same time,” clarified Dr. Wilcox. “We will contact you directly when you are eligible to schedule your vaccination based on guidelines from the Department of Health and as more vaccines become available.”

When will I receive my vaccine?

Everyone will eventually get access to the vaccine. When you receive your vaccine depends on the vaccine supply locally available and if you belong to a priority group. View more details about priority group 1B and additional guidance from the Minnesota Department of Health on their website.

How will I be notified when it is my time to get a vaccine?

If you are currently a Sanford Health patient, you will receive a My Sanford Chart message, a letter and a call or text message when we are ready to set up your vaccine appointment.

All patients are encouraged to enroll in a My Sanford Chart account if they do not already have one as this is the fastest and most efficient way to communicate. To enroll in My Sanford Chart, visit mysanfordchart.org

If you are not a patient of a health system or if you are unsure and would like to get the COVID-19 vaccine, please go to this link at sanfordhealth.org to be added to our waiting list.

Please, do NOT call Sanford Health locations to make a vaccination appointment, if you have not already received a communication instructing you to do so.

What is the vaccination process?

After receiving the vaccination scheduling communication, patients will be instructed on how to schedule their appointment and where/when to go to receive it.

Upon arrival for their appointment, patients will check in with patient access staff at the vaccine clinic, briefly wait to be called on and receive their vaccination in either their left or right shoulder. After being vaccinated, patients will be observed on-site for 15 minutes after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

The most common side effects are injection site pain, soreness and swelling. The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine should be received 21 days after the first dose. The second dose of the Moderna vaccine should be received 28 days after the first dose. The second dose will be scheduled during the patient’s first vaccination appointment.

For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit sanfordhealth.org and the CDC.

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