(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Tuesday, hundreds of people filed into Civic Arena for the St. Joseph Health Department's annual free vaccine clinic.
This year, health officials offered COVID-19 vaccines along with its typical allotment of free flu shots. The clinic was held from 9 a.m.-noon where medical personnel administered 190 flu shots and 80 doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine.
“It’s our contribution to the community," said Connie Werner, Clinic Supervisor for the St. Joseph Health Department.
Flu and COVID-19 vaccines were separated in storage and flu/COVID-19 patients had different colored forms. The health department designated one nurse to store the coronavirus vaccines until a table notified her of a Pfizer recipient. The nurse would then deliver the shot to the correct table.
Some of the 270 people rolled up their sleeves to protect themselves ahead of the holiday season.
"It's what's best for the community that we go out and do this. No matter if you get the flu shot or COVID-19 shot, it's what's best for the community," said Rex Strayer, recipient of flu shot.
While others showed up to the clinic to protect their job.
“I can’t leave my job. I love my job. I’ve been working there for 24 years and I’ve been commuting there for 23 of it. It’s just not an option for me to continue not working as a nurse,” said Rebecca Brunner, received first COVID-19 shot.
Regardless of the reason, health officials said they were pleasantly surprised with the clinic's turnout. Health officials said in a time that's been anything but predictable, even just one vaccination matters.
“In 2020-2021, I have no idea what to expect. I don’t know if I should expect no turnout or great turnout. So, yes we are pleased with how many vaccines we gave out. We’re always happy with getting that flu shot started and getting the season started on the right foot," said Werner.
Starting Wednesday, the health department will accept walk-ins for flu shots and coronavirus vaccines during their normal business hours. The health department will also resume their normal business operations on Wednesday.