Grand Forks Public Health staff have scheduled eight COVID-19 vaccination clinics this week in Grand Forks proper, plus one each in Gilby and Northwood.

At those clinics, health care providers can administer doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine or second doses of the two-shot Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. After moving to a more decentralized vaccination plan, the health department hopes to set up those clinics within half a mile of 95% of Grand Forks residents.

Anyone age 12 or older is eligible for a vaccine at one of the department's clinics, some of which may be staffed by "partners" such as WelCore Personal and Corporate Health or Wall's Medicine Center.

“The Delta variant is an example of how the virus can change as it spreads. Vaccination is the best way to stop the spread of the virus and protect ourselves, our families, and our communities.” said Haley Bruhn, the health department’s immunization program manager, said in a news release. “Being fully vaccinated reduces the risk of infection, but some people still spread the Delta variant. When “breakthrough cases” of COVID-19 occur in vaccinated individuals, the vaccination reduces the risk of severe infection, hospitalization, or death.”

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Those vaccinations, regardless of where they’re administered, help nudge Grand Forks County closer to “herd immunity,” a situation in which the virus runs out of figurative room to spread to more people. Health department staff hope that the county will reach that threshold when -- or if -- 60% of all county residents have been fully vaccinated, although some experts believe the threshold could be considerably higher than that.

As of Monday, Aug. 2, North Dakota Department of Health data compiled by local public health administrators indicates that 31,212 county residents have been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, which means they’ve either received the single Johnson & Johnson shot or both Moderna or Pfizer shots. That figure represents about 44.9% of all county residents.

The health department reported around 230 new full vaccinations since July 26. Grand Forks Public Health data provided to the Herald indicates that staff at the department's mobile clinics have doled out 1,129 doses of a coronavirus vaccine at 95 vaccine clinics held between May 8 and July 31. That's about 11.8 doses per event.