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Dusty Johnson pleased with local vaccination efforts

Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 6:24 PM MST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - On Friday, Monument’s vaccination clinic at Rushmore Mall received a visit from South Dakota Representative Dusty Johnson.

Johnson took a tour of the facility, speaking with nurses and other staff about the logistics of quickly and effectively vaccinating patients. He even observed Joan Petersen receive her first dose of the vaccine.

Johnson said he was impressed with the efficiency and plans to visit other vaccination sites in the future.

He described the atmosphere as almost “giddy” as people take the steps to return to normal.

While Johnson said he is pleased with the Rushmore Mall clinic, he wants more federal funding for the vaccination effort.

“This does not come together for free, and for health systems that have already struggled in a year, where they cancelled a lot of elective surgeries, they assumed a lot of additional expenses that came with being ready to serve their communities,” said Johnson. “We want to make sure that they’re able to do what they need to do operationally without assuming additional financial ham. I mean, the federal government has got to be willing to step up, and has to be willing to provide them the resources they need to get the shots in the arms.”

On Friday, Pfizer said their COVID-19 vaccine can be stored at a relatively warmer temperature, instead of the ultra-cold freezers.

Monument’s Senior Director of Ambulatory and Pharmacy Operations said the vaccines need to stay so cold because this is brand-new technology.

“We don’t know a lot about it yet, and so that’s why extra precautions were taken with keeping that vaccine extra cold,” said Scott Peterson, the Senior Director of Ambulatory and Pharmacy Operations at Monument Health.

Peterson said this will likely not effect Monument too much, since they already have an extra-cold freezer.

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