Much-Maligned South Dakota Near Top of Vaccine Leaderboard While Democratic Strongholds Lag Behind


South Dakota is one of the most successful states in administering its provided coronavirus vaccine dosages, following months of criticism from the establishment media and Democrats on its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The Mount Rushmore State” is the third-most-successful state in administering the coronavirus vaccine, following West Virginia and North Dakota, according to Becker’s Hospital Review, who cited Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data.

South Dakota has administered a total of over 54,000 total doses out of the roughly 88,000 distributed to the state, with a 61.42 percent distribution rate.

“South Dakota is a leader in vaccination efforts because of our people. We’ve empowered them to make the best decision for themselves, their family, and their businesses by providing them with timely and accurate health information as it becomes available,” South Dakota Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon told the Washington Examiner.

“We’ve also leveraged our strategic partnerships throughout the state, and we are proud of their nonstop work to get shots in arms. Preparation, not panic, has been our guiding force since day one.”

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South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem made headlines and received criticism during the pandemic for refusing to implement a stay-at-home order for her state.

“For me personally, I took an oath to uphold our state Constitution. I took an oath when I was in Congress to uphold the United States Constitution. So I believe in people’s freedoms and liberties and I always balance that with every decision that I make as governor,” Noem told Breitbart News.

“I get overly concerned with leaders who take too much power in a time of crisis because I think that’s how we directly lose our country someday by leaders overstepping their proper role.”

Although the state’s positivity and death rates were some of the worst in the country at one point, according to the CDC’s website, South Dakota has seen its cases steadily drop.

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The Examiner reported that on Wednesday the state recorded only 452 new positive cases compared to its 30-day high of 905 cases on Dec. 16.

Now, states with some of the harshest lockdown policies are lagging behind the immunization rate of South Dakota, at 5.73 doses per 1,000 people, which exceeds the national average. California has only administered 2.26 doses per 1,000 people and Minnesota has given 2.93 doses per 1,000 people, as of Friday.

A state health official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told the Examiner that South Dakota has been cooperating with local health care providers by streamlining communication between health care workers administering the vaccine and the government.

“We just don’t have the same kind of bureaucracy here, I guess,” the official said. “We’re small, sure, but we knew what to do.”

The state has streamlined the process by allowing vaccine doses to be transported with other medications to hospitals, rather than creating a whole new distribution channel.

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It also uses electronic health records to identify and notify qualifying individuals for the vaccine to avoid unnecessary storage of the dosages.

“As we continue to look toward the year ahead, I am excited to report a light at the end of the tunnel with regard to our fight against COVID-19,” Noem said in her State of the State address this week, according to KOTA-TV.

“South Dakota is leading the nation in disbursing the COVID vaccine. In just over a month, tens of thousands of people across the state have received their first dose.”

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith