Intro article of who we are, COVID-19 update, and 3rd dose COVID vaccine info

Kidder County District Health Unit

8/16/20211 min read


We are excited to start a regular column in the newspaper. We plan to discuss what we’ve been up to as well as various health topics related to what’s happening in the county. First – What do we do here at Kidder County District Health Unit (KCDHU)?

We are a public health facility that focuses on preventing, promoting, and protecting the health of the community. Public health has been around for centuries and its growth has depended on growing scientific knowledge and social action. Even before the 18th century when the plague, smallpox, or other infectious epidemics occurred, public action attempted to contain the disease by isolating the ill and quarantining those around them to protect the other citizens. It became more coordinated and organized throughout time. Public health has made huge leaps in sanitation, epidemiology, and scientific discoveries (like antibiotics, immunization) since then. The focus of public health has shifted from not just preventing disease but promoting overall health for the population.

Here in Kidder County, we offer a variety of services to individuals throughout the life span to promote health:


-Home visits to newborns and their families

-Health Tracks screenings for children currently on Medicaid

-Imagination Library for infants to 5 years old

-Childhood immunizations: offered at the office and in school

-School nursing: vision screenings, rapid assessments, consults

-Car seat inspections through Custer Public Health in Mandan – we also distribute them locally


-Tobacco prevention: “Quit kits” available and education

-Nursing assessments: cardiac and respiratory – blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen level checks; ear checks; wound/skin checks

-Health maintenance interventions: ear irrigation, wound care/dressing changes, foot care, suture removal, medication box set ups

-Home visits: as needed

-Adult immunizations: Influenza, Tdap, and pneumovax. Can administer shingles vaccine if ordered and picked up at Steele Drug

-We also travel to the county Senior Centers and make ourselves available at those locations for any health concerns.

-Emergency preparedness and response: we are currently living this throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. However, public health has been planning for epidemic response for decades – since that is how public health came to be. We offer COVID-19 vaccines weekly as well as testing on an as needed basis.

Health promotion and keeping the community healthy is what we do. If you have questions on any services or need us for anything – reach out to us at 475-2582. We’d love to hear from you.

Our days here at KCDHU continue to be consumed by COVID-19 business: briefings from the state, seminars, planning for and doing vaccine clinics, occasional testing, education, and outreach. Just as we thought things may start “returning to normal” the delta variant arrived and now we are preparing for an even busier fall.

This Delta variant needs to be taken seriously:

· Delta is extremely contagious---much more so than the last two—for every positive they could spread it to 6 or more---then those 6 can spread it to 6 each---so you see how fast it can spread.

· The viral load of Delta is about 1000x stronger…meaning it won’t take a lot of time to be exposed with the viral load being so high.

· This virus is affecting children at an alarming rate, in addition to all other ages.

· Symptoms are showing up quicker—and people are often much sicker.

· Delta is so different than the previous strains, you won’t necessarily have natural immunity to this one, even if you had it before.

· Positivity rate is increasing in the state as well as hospitalizations – we are at about the same number of cases we had last year at this time yet we are only doing 30% of the testing.

So what can you do?

-Stay healthy: How? Get lots of rest. Eat healthy. Drink lots of water. You can take vitamins and supplements but the best way to get these is through what you eat and drink. Stay tuned for future posts about boosting your immune system.

-Get vaccinated: This remains one of our strongest defenses against the virus to provide your immune system with a specific blueprint to further protect you. We continue to offer weekly vaccinations at the Steele Ambulance Hall from 3-4pm on Thursdays. We always have Moderna Vaccine (ages 18+) and will try to also offer Pfizer (12+). The ND DoH also offers vaccines every Friday from 10-2pm at the Coffee Cup in the parking lot.

-If you choose not to get vaccinated, that is a freedom you have. But please then be more aware of those around you – wear a mask in an attempt to keep the infection contained to you, keep your distance from others in public, and truly stay home if you are sick. Work harder to keep a healthy immune system by doing those things as above.

-Get tested, especially if you don’t feel well. We offer testing on a limited and as needed basis, usually grouping testing times together with our limited staff. Otherwise check out these ND testing locations: https://www.health.nd.gov/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/testing-care/where-get-covid-19-test

-Stay home if you are sick!

Health promotion and keeping the community healthy is what we do. If you have questions on any services or need us for anything – reach out to us at 475-2582. We’d love to hear from you.

Do I need a 3rd shot of the COVID-19 vaccine?

You may have heard on the news recently that the FDA authorized an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna) for moderately or severely immunocompromised people. This population of individuals makes up only 2.7% of the population of the US and is responsible for up to 44% of the breakthrough cases of vaccinated cases.

Examples of individuals who are eligible for a third dose of vaccine:

-Active treatment for solid organ transplant and on immunosuppressive therapy

-Active chemotherapy treatment

-Advanced or untreated HIV infection

-Active treatment on high dose steroids (ie: >20mg prednisone or equivalent per day)

-If you are wondering if you are eligible, you should talk to your healthcare provider

The FDA amended authorization and ACIP recommendation do not apply to people with other chronic conditions or all long term care residents. The intent is supposed to be people who are moderately or severely immunocompromised, similar to patients with solid organ transplant. Immunocompromised individuals are at an increased risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19, and emerging evidences suggests they have a weaker immune response following the initial COVID-19 vaccination series.

This additional dose is only authorized for the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer or Moderna) not the J&J Janssen vaccine. Third doses of either Pfizer or Moderna should be given at least 28 days after your second dose and should be the same vaccine as the first two received.

This third dose is NOT considered a “booster dose” (implying a strong immune response occurred but waned over time) but an additional dose to those individuals who probably did not mount a sufficient immune response in the first place).

This is the most up to date information as of 8/17/21. Information regarding COVID-19 changes rapidly. Everyone could potentially need a third dose in the future. We will let everyone know as soon as we get notification of this from the ND Department of Health.