Itasca County Finishing Phase 1A COVID Inoculations, Phase 1B Set to Begin Soon

Residents, Staff in Assisted Living Facilities Will Receive at Least One Dose of the Vaccine by Next Week

GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. – Public health officials in Itasca County say they’re close to finishing Phase 1a of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, and will soon begin Phase 1b.

Kelly Chandler, division manager for Itasca County Public Health, says the first phase is expected to be complete within one to two weeks.

The second phase will vaccinate residents 65 years and older as well as school staff and childcare providers.

Itasca County continues to see a steady decline in new cases since the beginning of December.

In the past seven days, 38 new cases were reported in the county. Officials reported a man in his 30s who recently died from COVID-19.

Medical professionals encourage residents to receive the vaccine, as it’s one step closer to reaching herd immunity.

“This is a situation I don’t want to be in again. A situation where the needs of the patients outweigh the ability of the entire state’s healthcare system. It’s an incredibly helpless feeling as a medical professional,” said Kristin Linn, director of nursing at Essentia Health Deer River.

Residents are being asked to do their research before receiving the shot.

Side effects may include injection site pain, fever, muscle aches, fatigue, and headache.

Dr. Dan Soular with Grand Itasca Clinic & Hospital says the seasonal flu shot is typically 65 percent effective versus the COVID-19 vaccines, which are clinically proven to be 95 percent effective.

Click here to learn more information from Itasca County Public Health.