Two healthcare workers share COVID-19 vaccine experience



South Dakota received its first shipments of COVID-19 vaccines in December.

According to the state’s COVID-19 vaccination plan, those first doses were for individuals in priority group Phase 1A, which included frontline healthcare workers and long-term care facility workers.

Independent Publishing Reporter Crystal Dickelman, who also works full-time in healthcare, qualified.

“Frontline workers everywhere were given the option to receive the vaccine if they decided they wanted to,” Dickelman said, “For some of us it wasn’t an easy decision. There are still a lot of unknowns about the vaccine. It is a rather new vaccine and has not been tested on the masses as it soon will be, which is one reason some of my coworkers are hesitant to receive the vaccine.”

Dickelman did her research and ultimately decided she would receive it.

“I take care of patients who are vulnerable to Covid-19 daily,” she said, “I don’t want to present more of a risk to any of them than I need to.”

Another local nurse had the same feelings.

Allissa Harms of Tea has received both doses of her COVID-19 vaccine.

“I got the vaccine to protect myself and family and vulnerable community members,” Harms said.

The COVID-19 vaccine distribution is being handled by Sanford in Lincoln County and by both Sanford and Avera Health in Minnehaha County.

Dickelman went through the process with Sanford, and said they made the process extremely quick and smooth.

“I went into their building they have designated for COVID-19 vaccinations and presented my identification card,” Dickelman said, “After checking in I went to a patient room and was given my shot and my card to record my vaccination. I then had to wait 15 minutes before leaving to ensure I did not have a severe reaction to vaccine. I then had to wait three weeks to return to Sanford to receive my second vaccine dose. I repeated the process again, of checking in and receiving my shot.”

Dickelman reported that during the whole process social distancing was maintained as much as possible, and everyone involved was wearing masks.

As for side effects neither Harms nor Dickelman had any of the severe side effects. Both reported sore arms that subsided quickly, within the first few days.

Harms said that she had COVID-19 back in October and that the sore arm from the vaccine was nothing compared to the symptoms she experienced while having COVID-19.

For those on the fence about receiving the vaccine, Harms’ advice was, “Get it.”

The vaccine is currently in Phase 1C in South Dakota. The state is vaccinating other healthcare workers, public health workers, emergency medical services, law enforcement and correctional officers. Phase 1B, which has already taken place, included long-term care residents.

The next Phase 1D is scheduled to begin next week. Phase 1D includes persons with two or more underlying medical conditions (cancer; chronic kidney disease; COPD); heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies; immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant; obesity or severe obesity; sickle cell disease; type 2 diabetes mellitus; teachers and other school/college staff; persons aged 65 years and older; residents in congregate settings, residents in licensed independent living facilities, and residents of licensed group homes; and funeral service workers.

For additional information and the latest resources regarding the vaccine in South Dakota, visit COVID.SD.GOV.