Governor Kristi Noem says she does not have plans to issue a public service announcement urging South Dakotans to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
But, state health officials are urging more residents to get inoculated.
Several times in the last year Governor Noem issued PSAs urging South Dakotans to practice good hygiene and keep socially distanced.
"We all have the same goal, making SD safer, stronger and healthier -- together, we will get through this," she said.
As the tourism season fast approaches, Noem says South Dakotans who want the vaccine have gotten it. She’s NOT planning to formally urge more vaccinations.
“We’re not going to mandate to people what they have to do, we’re going to give them the flexibility to make adjustments if they’d like to,” Noem says. “But, the more data and information and facts that we can give them on the decisions they can make for their families is critically important.”
Noem received her second dose of the Pfizer vaccine last week. Department of Health officials hope more will follow her example, even if she doesn’t give them direct encouragement.
Kim Malsam-Rysdon is the secretary for the Department of Health.
“Our goal is to see at least 70 percent of people, that are eligible for vaccination, to be vaccinated. Because that’s going to give us a level of protection that will really slow and even stop the spread of COVID in our state.”
Forty-six percent of South Dakotans are fully vaccinated. Vaccines are now available to all South Dakotans 16 and older.
The CDC estimates 20 to 30 percent of South Dakotans are hesitant to get the vaccine.
“So, they’re going to rely on other people doing the right thing, huh?”
Dr. Susan Hoover specializes in infectious disease and travel medicine with Sanford Health. She says those hesitant about the vaccine, or who have not contracted the disease, are still vulnerable.
“Still not everybody has had it,” Hoover says. “There’s 330 million people in the United States and it hasn’t gotten everybody yet.”
Hoover says scientists are still learning about the short- and long-term effects of COVID-19. She says getting vaccinated is better than taking a chance on catching the disease.