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Approximated 200 people were vaccinated Thursday (March 18) when the North Dakota National Guard and the Southwestern Health Unit. Set up a vaccination center in the Four Seasons Pavilion.

According to Sherry Adams, about half the people vaccinated were getting the first of the two-dose Moderna vaccine.

The health unit covers a group of eight counties in the southwestern portion of the state and has been providing vaccinations since December, she explained.

The unit is making a push to set up vaccinations several times in Bowman during the month of April as a way to get and keep ahead of the several variants of the Corona virus, which have been reported in the state.

The next time the guard and health unit will return to the fairgrounds for vaccinations will be around April 1 and April 15, she explained. The Moderna vaccine requires two doses, with the second dose given approximately four weeks after the first dose.

“We are not going to do every two weeks forever... just through April,” she said Monday.

Bowman County has done pretty well in getting vaccinated, she added. “Just from the clinics that we have been doing, we have been seeing a pretty good uptick.”

One reason for the push in getting people vaccinated is because of the variants that have appeared in the state. “There is five variants of concern in the United States and that is the South African, the Brazil, the UK one and the two California ones. Those five are what is called variants of concern.

“We have three of those five identified in North Dakota. We have the UK strain and the two California strains,” she explained. “So the variants are starting to show up.”

The United Kingdom variant that is now in North Dakota could affect more people, as it becomes the dominant strain in the United States. “It spreads more easily. It potentially will make people sick but it has a little bit higher mortality rates. The bigger issue is that it could affect more people and that could take out some of the workforce in some of the schools.”

According to Adams, all of the variants in the country can be more easily spread. “They seem to infect people more readily... they are all about like that.”

The vaccines are now available to anyone 18 and above for the Moderna and the Johnson & Johnson versions of the vaccine, while the Pfizer is available for people 16 and above.

“There is a good opportunity for anybody that wants a vaccine to get vaccinated. It is probably going to be Moderna for most of our clinics going forward, while Pfizer will be going mostly to the bigger cities,” she explained.

Adams recently became an honorary member of the North Dakota National Guard for her work. “It was such an honor.... and I got a National Guard bag,” she added with a chuckle.

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