(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Local health officials want to hear from health providers in Buchanan County about which members of their staff would like a COVID-19 vaccine when it comes available.
The St. Joseph Health Department is asking those organizations to complete an online form so they can begin assessing the number of health care workers who need and want the vaccine.
The deadline to fill out the form is Dec. 31.
Tier 1A healthcare providers and workers, defined by CDC and state criteria, are eligible for vaccinations. Per CDC, Tier 1A includes “paid and unpaid people serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home.”
For example, Tier 1A includes hospice, dental offices, eye doctor offices, independent pharmacies, mental health providers, chiropractors, and many other patient-facing healthcare workers.
The St. Joseph Health Department is working to get a list together of any Tier 1A providers and workers who are not part of a health care system that received its won vaccine allotment.
“We can’t devote precious time to like googling to find out how many dentists are in town and how many eye doctors because we are going to miss somebody and it would not be intentional but someone would say, 'Why didn’t you contact me?' and so we are relying on them to gather that interest information,” said Connie Werner with the St. Joseph Health Department.
The sooner providers fill out the form, the higher up on the vaccine list they will be placed. The St. Joseph Health Department anticipates that approval from the State could come any at any time and they want to be ready to quickly put the plan into effect when they get the shipments.
The statement of interest is mandatory. The availability of the vaccine, however, is not guaranteed, officials said. State and federal officials have acknowledged a bungled vaccine rollout with far fewer vaccination doses than was previously promised to Americans.
“We are just one cog in the wheel,” Werner said. "We anticipate that the interest will be greater than the supply that we get. We will give what we have and when we get more we will keep giving it so we do know we will give everyone vaccinated but we don’t know how long it will take because so much of it is determined outside of our control."