More South Dakotans are about to become eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination.

The South Dakota Department of Health has announced that beginning Monday, February 22, the age for vaccinating those in Group 1D will be lowered to 65 and older. Currently, the minimum age requirement for vaccination is 70 years old.

In a press release, State Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon said: “It is exciting that given our orderly and well-planned vaccination strategy, coupled with the dedication of our medical professionals across our state, we are in such a strong position when it comes to vaccination efforts.”

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Over the past two weeks, South Dakota's federal vaccine allocation has increased to 17,660 weekly doses—not including those received by Veterans Affairs and Indian Health Service.

The state plans to continue dropping the minimum age requirement by five-year increments as the vaccine supply increases.

Vaccinations in South Dakota are currently in the first phase of Group 1D, with those 70 and older, those residing in independent living or group homes, and those with high-risk factors getting their shots.

The next phase of Group 1D will be expanded to individuals with two or more underlying health conditions, educators, and those working in the funeral service industry.

At last count, 164,399 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in South Dakota. That translates to about 16 percent of the state's residents having received at least one shot.

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