(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) The St. Joseph Health Department had a pleasant surprise at the second dose COVID-19 vaccine clinic held at the Open Door Food Kitchen Thursday. A handful of residents came to the kitchen and asked for the shot for the first time.
Department Director Debra Bradley said they were not going to turn anyone who wanted a shot away.
“Every single person who gets vaccinated, it makes a difference and it’s the difference that we want to make in our community,” she said. “It’s not always easy for people to get to the different clinics and so by coming here when they are already coming for their lunch it makes it an easy choice.”
Last month, the health department offered vaccine shots to the food kitchen regulars. About 13 people took them up on the offer.
“Thirteen people doesn’t sound like a lot but that’s thirteen people who are protected, and then protecting their family and their friends,” said Bradley.
Daniel Hayes was one of the new patients signing up for a shot and receiving it Thursday. He said even though he was afraid of needles he was motivated to get the shot out of concern for the health of the community.
“The poor, you know, need help too. Do you know what I’m saying? There’s a lot of homeless people and they can’t afford a lot of healthcare as I can but I believe that we can all help each other,” Hayes said. “It’s not just about yourself. It’s trying to save the community and make things a little better for the world.”
Bradley said she hopes others will step up, like Hayes, and volunteer to get vaccinated.
“Look at the big picture and look at all aspects of it and it has been proven to be safe and effective so I want people to get vaccinated. I’m really encouraging that,” she said.
According to state data, one-fifth of residents in Buchanan County have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of Friday morning. Less than half of the state’s average.