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Secretary Still Circumlocutory, But Health Department Direct: Get Your Covid Shots, and Get Your Kids Shots!

All is not lost in South Dakota’s Department of Health. Even Governor Kristi Noem’s commitment to Trumpist science denial can’t stop the DOH from advocating coronavirus vaccines for kids age 5 to 11:

South Dakota Department of Health, tweet promoting covid-19 vaccine for kids, 2021.11.03.
South Dakota Department of Health, tweet promoting covid-19 vaccine for kids, 2021.11.03.

Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon is still so conditioned in Noemspeak that she can’t talk a straight line on the value of coronavirus vaccines:

Protecting children against COVID-19 is a giant leap forward in the fight against this virus and a great way to protect those around them. South Dakota parents should talk to their child’s pediatrician to get trusted personalized medical advice and do what is right for their families [Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health, DOH press release, 2021.11.03].

Get Your Shots. Get Your Kids Shots. It’s still kinda hard for the Secretary to say directly, but at least the Department of Health can get those words out.

Alas, vaccines alone aren’t enough to prevent the virus from spreading. especially when a significant percentage of South Dakotans still refuse to pull their weight in protecting the community. Hughes County, where the Secretary works and her boss occasionally shows up, has the highest percentage of residents who have gotten at least one dose of covid vaccine but also had the highest rate of new coronavirus cases per population over the past week:

Dr. Bonny Specker, "Nov. 3, 2021: Covid Weekly Data Update," blog, 2021.11.03.
Dr. Bonny Specker, “Nov. 3, 2021: Covid Weekly Data Update,” blog, 2021.11.03.

But vaccines are keeping people out of the hospitals and morgues. As Dr. Specker notes, if the covid vaccines didn’t work, we’d see percentages of vaccinated people hospitalized and ventilated for coronavirus match their percentages in the general population. Instead, while vaccinated South Dakotans are in the majority on the street, they remain a small minority in the hospitals and ICUs:

Monument Health, covid-19 cases, unvaccinated vs. vaccinated, 2021.10.27.
Monument Health, covid-19 cases, unvaccinated vs. vaccinated, 2021.10.27.
Sanford Health, covid-19 cases, unvaccinated vs. vaccinated, 2021.11.02.
Sanford Health, covid-19 cases, unvaccinated vs. vaccinated, 2021.11.02.

Get Your Shots. Get Your Kids Shots.


  1. Nick Nemec 2021-11-05 06:32

    Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon was to walk a thin line between science and truth and Gov. Noem’s Trumpist positioning. If she strays too far toward the side of truth and science she risks losing a $140,000 job.

  2. John 2021-11-05 08:21

    Perhaps Secretary of Health Kim Malsam-Rysdon and her boss, our part time governor should celebrate with glasses of raw milk. Freedom!

  3. mike from iowa 2021-11-05 09:23

    Unlike abortions, which are not infectious and deadly, pandemic viruses affect more than just “their” family. But, magats aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer.

  4. ds 2021-11-05 09:41

    DS says:
    Too bad for Rapid City kids that The South Dakota DOH sent all of the allocation of 5-11 year old Covid-19 vaccinations to Sanford in Sioux Falls. So as of yesterday 1/3/2021 East River kids are getting protection whereas West River kids are NOT! There is conflicting dates being quoted on local print and broadcast alleging that Monument will start vaccination here in Rapid City on Saturday 6th…But NO i checked with Monument the date for Rapid City is Nov 13th…And i checked with SD DOH and they admitted that Sanford requested 1st and got all the doses…

    Dan Daly says:
    November 4, 2021 at 10:45 am
    Monument will begin vaccinating children age 5-11 tomorrow, Nov. 5, at Custer, Spearfish and three locations in Rapid City. … They received the first shipment of doses earlier this week.The special Saturday clinic is Nov. 13 from 7 a.m. to noon.

    Dan Daily we arrived this Friday Nov 5 at 7:15 AM at the Rapid City Mall Covid-19 vaccination location with our 11 year old daughter. While registering her, the supervising nurse came up and informed us “oh no we don;t have any vaccinations for 5-11 year olds AND cannot say if today we will get any”.
    Even though it is a longshot, the registration person was nice enuf to make an appointment for us a 4:45 PM today just before closing….So Dan i Call BULL…meanwhile Sioux Falls Sanford and Alvera are both dispensing unlimited age 5-11 vaccinations.

  5. Jake 2021-11-05 11:22

    Alarmingly, really, we in SD are dying too often of this disease this November, as we were a year ago in Nov. 2020. 14 on 11/4/20 7 on 11/4/21
    By far the largest share of current deaths are becuse of no vaccinations-ignorance/resistance being the primary reason for not vaccinating.
    Somehow, though I feel deep empathy for families that lose a bread-winner, to lose such because of a pig-headed stance that “my FREEDOM” is at stake here, when the death is preventable by a jab,
    I can’t feel sorry for the one who died.

  6. Mark Anderson 2021-11-05 17:51

    Jezz, South Dakota looks bad, almost 50% idiots. Well at least they’ll never have worms.

  7. ds 2021-11-05 18:50

    Mark A: they will never have worms only if they get put to rest in a well-built coffin. Pine box?….probably worms feasting….

  8. leslie 2023-01-09 11:38

    Covid (likely XXB.1.5) has finally caught up with me.

    [Measles] is also astonishingly contagious: only one virus, SARS-CoV-2 (which causes COVID-19) is known to be more contagious than measles.

    Noem replaced Sec Health Joan Adam recently over trans-education efforts in the state. SD’s goofball, fully camo-clad governor, tweeted a video playing with a flame thrower on her farm, torching gift boxes and somersaulting like a Trumpist.

    Certainly draining SD’s “swamp” of forward, educated leaders.

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