(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Walking through the doors of Civic Arena Wednesday was the next phase of Missouri's COVID-19 vaccination rollout, first responders.
The St. Joseph Health Department began vaccinating Phase 1B-Tier 1 after the state gave the go-ahead on Thursday.
“We are excited to get it into people and people are excited to have it. It’s just we gotta get it,” said Debra Bradley, Health Director for the St. Joseph Health Department.
St. Joseph police officers, Buchanan County sheriff's deputies, St. Joseph firefighters and Missouri State Highway Patrol troopers took their oath of protection to the next level and rolled up their sleeves.
“I”ve been involved in the process since it started and this was my first opportunity to get the vaccination and so, I’m here to be safe,” said Bill Britton, Buchanan County emergency manager.
215 doses of Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine were available to area first responders Wednesday, but they weren't new vaccine shipments for 1B.
“These are leftover vaccine we had from our 1A, so because we had vaccine left and the governor had opened the 1B-Tier 1 group we were able to move in and this group vaccinated,” said Bradley.
The health department moved onto Phase 1B as directed by the state. Bradley said, “We feel pretty confident that most of the individuals in 1A have been vaccinated. If someone reaches out to us and they fit that category, we’ll work them into a clinic because we want to make sure everybody in that category is vaccinated as much as we can."
Ivan Klippenstein is a training officer for the St. Joseph Fire Department and was a vaccinator at the clinic, but turned down the vaccine himself.
“I didn’t take the vaccine because since I had the virus recently where I have a little safety time before I would need the vaccine, there are other people who are in a higher risk group- this should all be a risk-benefit analysis- those folks should get it before me,” said Kippenstein.
It's a cause to protect others, but Klippenstain said he will take the vaccine when it's his rightful turn.
“I will certainly get it after 60 days or so,” said Klippenstein.
The health department said they're inching one step closer to vaccinating the general public, one shot at a time.
“I hope they understand that we are doing everything we can to get the vaccine for them and make it available for them and it will come,” said Bradley.
Bradley said the St. Joseph Health Department is partnering with Mosaic Life Care and the Region H Health Care Coalition to push out a community clinic for phase 1B-Tier 2. The clinic will be appointment based through an online registration process.
A date has not yet been announced.