Department of Health reiterates priority groups; launches Vaccine Locator

BISMARCK, N.D. (Jan 15, 2021)  – The North Dakota Department of Health (NDDoH) reported today that vaccine priority groups originally announced on Dec. 31 will remain in effect. The reminder was issued in response to the federal government’s recommendation earlier this week that states expand the range of individuals immediately eligible to receive the vaccine, while noting it remains the state’s decision.


“North Dakota has had a successful start to COVID-19 vaccination,” said NDDoH Immunization Director Molly Howell. “Continuing with the priority groups established by the North Dakota COVID-19 vaccination ethics committee ensures that our most vulnerable are accessing vaccine first. North Dakota is continuing to receive less than 10,000 doses per week, so opening up vaccination to large groups of individuals is not possible at this time, but we strongly encourage those in the priority groups to get vaccinated as they become eligible.”


The state also unveiled a way for individuals to find vaccine in their area. More information can be found at Individuals can search by providers in their area and see which provider group they’re serving. Health care providers receiving vaccine directly from the federal government, including Indian Health Services and the Veterans Administration, are not included on the locator, but may have vaccine available.


“Different areas of the state may be vaccinating different priority groups,” said Howell. “It’s important that the public remain patient and pay attention to local information about vaccine availability. Everyone who wants a vaccine will get one eventually.”


North Dakotans should watch their local media and social media channels for health care facilities, pharmacies and local public health departments for more information on the status of vaccine administration in their area.


Health care providers, local public health units and pharmacies have been told they can move to Phase 1B when they’re ready. Some may still be working through Phase 1A, comprised of frontline health care workers, first responders and long-term care residents and staff. Below are the following phases.


Phase 1B (in order of priority):

  • Persons age 75 and older
  • Persons age 65 – 74 with two or more high-risk medical conditions
  • Staff and persons living in other congregate settings (i.e., corrections, group homes, treatment centers, homeless shelters, etc.)
  • Persons age 65 and older with one or more high-risk medical conditions
  • Persons age 65 and older with or without high-risk medical conditions
  • Persons with two or more high-risk medical conditions regardless of age
  • Child care workers
  • Workers employed by preschools or Kindergarten through 12th grade:
    • Teachers, nutritional services, aides, bus drivers, principals, administrative staff, custodians, etc.


Phase 1C (in order of priority):

  • North Dakota National Guard, not previously covered
  • Grocery Workers
  • Public safety answering points (911)
  • Manufacturing related to the development or supply of COVID-19 vaccine
  • Other health care/public health workers not included in phase 1A
  • Free standing clinical laundries
  • Public transit, including bus, taxi, ride-share
  • Persons age 16 – 64 with one or more high-risk medical conditions
  • Blood bank workers not previously vaccinated
  • Information technology
  • All other essential workers per Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA)


North Dakota ranks No. 1 in the nation in percentage of doses administered (67.6%) out of those received. For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine, visit


Burgum urges vigilance to keep COVID-19 numbers trending downward as statewide mask requirement expires Monday

Capacity limits for restaurants, bars and event venues changed to guidelines as hospitalizations, positive rate and active cases drop

Gov. Doug Burgum Friday urged North Dakotans to remain vigilant against COVID-19 as the state’s case numbers continue a downward trend and the State Health Officer’s statewide mask requirement expires Monday, Jan. 18.


An executive order that limits capacity for bars, restaurants and event venues also will be modified, effective 8 a.m. Monday, Jan. 18, moving capacity limits and other ND Smart Restart protocols to guidelines, or recommendations. The statewide risk level will remain at moderate, or yellow.


Burgum noted that cities and counties may continue to have mask requirements in place, and the state supports those locally enacted protocols.


“Our case numbers and hospital capacity have improved dramatically in North Dakota over the past two months, and with three new tools we didn’t have last fall – vaccines, rapid tests and effective therapeutics – we can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Burgum said. “However, this fight isn’t over, and we need all North Dakotans to continue to exercise personal responsibility, follow protocols and keep wearing masks where physical distancing isn’t possible. The day will come when we can take off our masks and discard them with confidence, but only if we do what’s needed now to keep ourselves, our families and our communities safe.”


Since mid-November when the state’s COVID-19 numbers peaked and the additional mitigation measures were implemented:


  • Active cases have dropped by over 80 percent, from 10,224 to 1,675;
  • Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have decreased by nearly 74 percent, to 88 hospitalized today; and
  • The state’s 14-day test positivity rate is down roughly one-fourth from its peak, at 4.13 percent today, its lowest level since late August. According to Johns Hopkins University, North Dakota’s seven-day positivity rate is now the fourth-lowest rate in the nation, at 4.7 percent.


North Dakota Department of Health Immunization Program Manager Molly Howell also gave an update on the state’s vaccine distribution. Among the 50 states, North Dakota ranks No. 2 in the percentage of received vaccine doses administered, at 62%, and No. 4 in first doses administered per capita, with 52,433 doses administered as of Thursday.


State Health Officer order requiring face coverings originally took effect Nov. 14 and was extended from Dec. 14 to 12:01 a.m. Jan. 18, when it will expire. The extension to Jan. 18 allowed for a 14-day incubation period to pass after Christmas and New Year’s to ensure the state wouldn’t see a surge in cases, Burgum noted.


“We’re grateful for each and every North Dakotan who has done their part to bring these numbers down and save lives and livelihoods,” he said.


Guest speaker Dr. Joshua Ranum of West River Health Services in Hettinger stressed the importance of individuals who test positive for COVID-19 to immediately ask their doctors if they’re a candidate for early treatment with monoclonal antibody therapies that have been shown to reduce mortality and the need for hospitalization.


For more information on North Dakota’s COVID-19 response, visit or