Vaccines

Collage of community photos from before the pandemic

Let's Get Back What We Miss Most

What do you miss most? A COVID-19 vaccine can help us get back to what we love. Roll up your sleeve when your turn comes.

Brookings County Dashboard

Total Doses Administered Total Persons Administered a Vaccine Total % County Population Vaccinated 12+ % County Population Vaccinated
28,092 15,103 43.1% 50.6%

Data as of 7/14/21; based on 2019 Brookings County population estimate of 35,077 people total and 29,828 ages 12+.

Get Vaccinated NOW

If you are age 12+, you are eligible to receive the COVID 19 vaccine. Sign-up from one of these vaccine providers. 

  MODERNA JANSSEN PFIZER 18+ 12+ WALK-IN APPOINTMENT DURING CLINIC VISIT EVENINGS WEEKENDS
AVERA MEDICAL GROUP BROOKINGS  
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SANFORD HEALTH BROOKINGS CLINIC
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HY-VEE PHARMACY BROOKINGS
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LEWIS BROOKINGS
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BROTHERS PHARMACY
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WALMART PHARMACY BROOKINGS
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COVID Vaccine Overview

COVID-19 vaccinations are an important tool to help stop the pandemic. They provide a safer way to immunity by avoiding severe risks and complications created by the COVID-19 virus.

Combining the vaccine with other safety measures, including mask wearing, social distancing and frequent hand washing, provides the best opportunity for stopping the pandemic. 

PLEASE REMEMBER: the COVID-19 pandemic and COVID Vaccination Plan are evolving situations. Brookings Health System is staying up-to-date on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and South Dakota Department of Health guidelines and implementing changes immediately as needed.

Vaccination Plan

The South Dakota Department of Health has put together a comprehensive plan to offer vaccines to all South Dakotans who want it. It is offered in phases to cover priority groups, such as healthcare workers and those most at risk from COVID-19, first. Once one phase or sub-phase is completed, vaccinations will be offered to the next eligible group.

Currently the Department of Health is on Phase 2, all South Dakotans age 12+. Questions about vaccination can also be directed to the Helpline Center at 211. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The Department of Health has opened vaccinations to all South Dakotans age 12 and older. See the Get Vaccinated NOW section above to look for available local vaccine opportunities.

Currently vaccines are being distributed through local clinics and pharmacies. Refer to the Get Vaccinated NOW section above to find a vaccine location.

The federal government disburses vaccine doses based upon available inventory and equitably dispenses each vaccine approved for use to the states. If you are seeking a particular type of vaccine, refer to the Get Vaccinated NOW section above to see what types of vaccines each local clinic and pharmacy offers.

The U.S. vaccine safety system works to ensure all vaccines are as safe as possible. Federal agencies and vaccine manufacturers alike have made safety a top priority as they have developed and authorized a COVID-19 vaccine. All vaccines go through clinical trial to test safety and effectiveness. For COVID-19, the FDA setup rigorous standards for developers to meet. Once a vaccine has been authorized for use, monitoring continues to track problems or side effects that were not detected during clinical trials. Problems are most likely to emerge early in the testing process where they can be identified and addressed. 

In addition, people with severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) to injectable medications, components of the vaccine, or other vaccines should discuss the risk with their primary care provider

Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) Adverse Event
The FDA and CDC paused Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine administration due to concerns about the incidence of thrombosis (blood clot) involving the cerebral venous sinuses, large blood vessels in the brain. As of April 21, 2021, 7.98 million vaccine doses were administered with 15 confirmed cases of the rare blood clots.

On April 23, 2021, the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommended the pause be lifted and vaccine administration resume. Both the FDA and CDC stated they have confidence the vaccine is safe and effective in preventing COVID-19 and that the known and potential benefits outweigh its known and potential risks for individuals 18 years of age and older. Read more information about the safety review. 

With the known vaccine risk, medical providers will ask potential Janssen vaccine recipients about their health history prior to receiving the vaccine to ensure it is a safe option for the recipient. 

Warning signs to look for in the rare chance of an adverse event include: 

  • Shortness of breath
  • Leg pain
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fever

If a Janssen vaccine recipient experiences any of these warning signs, they should seek medical attention immediately. 

Each vaccine manufacturer uses different ingredients to produce their vaccine. Neither the Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer nor the Moderna vaccine contain eggs, preservatives or latex. A full list of ingredients is available at on each vaccine manufacturers’ website and a sheet with allergen information will be given to you prior to receiving the vaccine. You may also find information about allergens on the CDC's website.  If you are allergic to ingredients within the vaccine, please inform your vaccinator.

The COVID-19 vaccination helps protect people by creating an antibody response without having to experience sickness. By avoiding getting sick from the virus, people also avoid the severe risks and complications of the virus, including possible death. 

When a vaccine requires two doses, the first dose helps your body recognize the virus and gets your immune system ready. The second shot strengthens your immune response, preparing your body to fight infection. 

One shot of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are not as effective in protecting you from COVID-19 as two shots are. One dose is only about 50% effective; two doses are about 95% effective. Because each vaccine is designed slightly differently, the two vaccines available, Pfizer and Moderna, are not interchangeable. 

If you receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, you will only need one dose.

Reactions from a vaccine are a normal response and means the vaccine and your immune system are both working correctly. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been associated with the following side effects which were sometimes slightly worse after the second dose: 

  • Redness or swelling at the injection site
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Joint pain
  • Fever
  • Vomiting and diarrhea

Side effect length varies from person to person, but generally they go away within a few days.

It typically takes a couple of weeks for the body to build immunity after receiving the vaccine. 

No. The vaccine is one tool to help end the COVID-19 pandemic. Combining the vaccination with other measures gives us the best opportunity to stop the pandemic. The CDC will not know how long immunity produced by vaccination lasts until they have more data. As such, other safety measures, including mask wearing, social distancing and frequent hand washing, should continue until further guidance is given by the CDC and South Dakota Department of Health. 

Yes. According to the CDC, there is not enough information currently available on natural immunity to say if or for how long after infection someone is protected from getting COVID-19 again. Early evidence suggests natural immunity from COVID-19 may not last very long, but more studies are needed to better understand this.

No. None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States use the live virus that causes COVID-19. However, an individual could experience symptoms, such as fever, after getting the vaccine as the body builds immunity. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.

TECHNOLOGY

All three vaccines target the SARS-2 spike protein to trigger an immune response. 

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use mRNA technology which delivers a piece of genetic code to the cells to make the spike protein. The proteins made with the mRNA instructions activate the immune system and teach it to see the spike protein as foreign, thus developing antibodies to fight it. 

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a viral vectored vaccine. A harmless adenovirus has been engineered to carry the genetic code for the spike protein. Once the adenovirus enters cells, the cells use that code to make spike proteins.

DOSES

Pfizer and Moderna both require two doses of vaccine. The second shot of Pfizer should be administered 21 days after the initial dose. The second shot of Moderna should be administered 28 days after the initial dose. Dose brands are not interchangeable. 

Johnson & Johnson only requires one dose.

EFFICACY

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine are approximately 95% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID infection after two doses.

The FDA found the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was 86% effective at preventing severe cases of COVID-19

POPULATION

Pfizer has been authorized for use for people aged 16 and older. 

Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have been authorized for use in people 18 and older.

COVID Vaccine Myths vs. Facts

FACT: The COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t affect fertility.

The COVID-19 vaccine encourages the body to create copies of the spike protein found on the virus surface. This helps the body’s immune system learn to fight the virus that has the specific spike protein on it.

A false report circulating on social media caused confusion, claiming the coronavirus’s spike protein was the same as the syncitin-1 spike protein involved in the growth and the attachment of the placenta during pregnancy. The false report claimed the COVID-19 vaccine would cause a woman’s body to fight the syncitin-1 spike protein and prevent pregnancy. The two spike proteins are completely different and distinct from one another, meaning the claim is scientifically implausible.

Natural COVID-19 infections have not been linked to infertility nor increased miscarriage rates. During infection, the body creates the same antibodies to the spike protein as the vaccine does. As such, if COVID-19 affected fertility, pregnant women infected with COVID-19 would have an increased miscarriage rate.

FACT: No COVID-19 vaccine affects your DNA.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are designed to help the body’s immune system fight COVID-19. The messenger RNA (mRNA) from the vaccine never enters the cell nucleus where DNA is kept, meaning it cannot interact with or affect DNA in anyway. The mRNA instructs the cell to make a protein to trigger an immune response. After the cells have finished using the instructions, they quickly break down the mRNA.

FACT: Neither the Pfizer nor the Moderna vaccines contain fetal cells.

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines do not require the use of fetal cell cultures in order to produce the vaccine. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine did require the use of fetal cell cultures to produce and manufacture the vaccine. More information can be found HERE.

FACT: None of the COVID-19 vaccines use the live virus that causes COVID-19.

However, an individual could experience symptoms, such as fever, after getting the vaccine as the body builds immunity. It typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.

FACT: There is no vaccine microchip or tracking device.

The vaccines will not track people nor gather personal information into a database. This myth started after Bill Gates’ comments about a digital certificate of vaccine records were misconstrued.

Watch & Learn

Learn about Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) and how vaccines work in these videos from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Below, a local man shares his experience with polio and the connections to the current COVID-19 pandemic. 

What is an EUA?
Vaccine Basics
The Value in Vaccines
COVID-19 Vaccine Facts

Vaccine News from Brookings Health

Free, Walk-In Vaccination Center Set for June 9

The Brookings County Pandemic Planning and Coordination Committee (PPCC) will hold a free, walk-in COVID-19 community vaccination center, also referred to as a point of dispensing (POD), on Wednesday, June 9. The event will run from 4 to 8 p.m. at Swiftel Center in Brookings.

COVID-19 Vaccines: Where do we go from here?

On April 5, South Dakota officially entered phase 2 of the Department of Health’s COVID-19 vaccination plan, defined as a large number of vaccine doses available in the state. In the seven weeks since entering phase 2, less than 3,500 additional Brookings County residents have chosen to receive the vaccine. In comparison, nearly 5,800 Brookings County residents chose vaccination in the month of March alone, a time in which supply was limited and demand was high.

Free Vaccination Center for 12 to 17 Year Olds Set for May 20

Following the recent emergency use authorization (EUA) expansion by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Brookings County Pandemic Planning and Coordination Committee (PPCC) will hold a free, COVID-19 community vaccination center for adolescents ages 12 to 17 on Thursday, May 20. The event will run from 4 to 8 p.m. at Swiftel Center in Brookings.