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‘Beating the national average’: Northlanders are returning for second vaccine doses

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DULUTH, MN-- Vaccine numbers across the U.S. are declining, and on top of that, fewer people are showing up to their second dose appointment.

That's according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Essentia Health's large vaccine clinic can administer up to 700 shots a day. But lately, they have been experiencing a decline.

"We saw a day last week where only 5% to 10% of a large clinic day like that was filling," said Wesley Bickler, Pharmacy Manager at Essentia Health.

St. Louis County is experiencing the same trend.

"The number of people coming in for their first dose has slowed significantly over the last couple of weeks," said Amy Westbrook, Public Health Director for St. Louis County.

The CDC is now tracking data for second doses. They say 8% of the population is missing their second vaccine appointment.

According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the state is doing better than the national average, with 3.4% of Minnesotans missing their 2nd dose.

So how does St. Louis County stack up?

"Our numbers for us as a vaccine administrator, where we provide vaccine is less than 4%," said Westbrook.

Essentia Health is even lower.

"We are only at Essentia Health seeing a 1.3% rate of people not returning for a vaccine," said Bickler.

The county believes their rates are doing better than the national average because of vaccine follow-up.

"We do a lot of outreach. Especially with community partners to encourage people to come back for their second dose. I think that's been effective," said Bickler.

Essentia leaders agree. They also encourage those who are hesitant to get the vaccine to reach out to your trusted medical provider.

"If you're not comfortable operating around all the data, work with someone who has that information that you trust. I think they will be able to help you make a well-informed decision," Bickler said.

Bickler said if you miss your appointment to get your second vaccine, it's never too late to get it.

You also don't have to re-start your vaccine series.

John Cardinale

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