(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) COVID-19 vaccinations for Buchanan County healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents continue Tuesday.
According to a news release from the St. Joseph Health Department (SJHD), the City has a list of 71 agencies and 800 individuals that fit the CDC and State criteria for Phase 1A COVID-19 vaccinations that expressed interest in getting vaccinated.
SJHD asked healthcare providers and workers to reach out to the department by Dec. 31 if they were interested in getting vaccinated for COVID-19 and not already attached to Mosaic Life Care or another approved vaccine provider.
One of the local health care providers waiting is Peacock Pediatrics. Dr. Amanda Williams said her office colleagues have not received their initial doses yet but said the health department is working hard to get it for them.
“The health department is working on getting the COVID vaccine in to start vaccinating people like us who are on the frontlines in the community, and clinics and things like that,” Williams said.
KQ2 has also previously reported on hundreds of frontline workers and long-term care residents in Atchison, Clinton, Andrew, Nodaway, and Gentry counties have received initial doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Republican Governor Mike Parson in a Tweet Tuesday said 98,589 frontline healthcare workers, long-term care facility residents, and staff in Missouri received an initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to the release, SJSD is still waiting on confirmation from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Servies for approval and shipment of vaccine doses. While local health officials wait for confirmation, they are forging ahead with planning.
“The health department is planning Phase 1A vaccinations to occur in mid-to-late January,” according to the release.
Other groups are also working to gather information to help SJHD with mass vaccinations including the St. Joseph School District. Superintendent Doug Van Zyl said the district surveyed employees to gauge vaccine interest and about 1000 people responded.
“That’s not our complete employee group because we have over 1500 employees but that’s a pretty good representation so at least we’ll be able to share with the health department at 60 percent of our folks at least would be interested in taking a look at getting vaccinated,” Van Zyl said.
The district is working to get that data to the SJHD to have for planning purposes. Teachers fall into Phase 1B when first responders, critical infrastructure, and high-risk populations are eligible for vaccines.
As noted earlier, Buchanan County still has hundreds of Phase 1A individuals who need to be vaccinated first.
“Local public health officials do not have the authority to move forward with vaccinations from one “Phase” to the next. DHSS has instructed vaccine providers to only vaccinate individuals who meet the criteria for Phase 1A at this time. Once the state is satisfied that Phase 1A is complete, vaccination of those in Phase 1B will commence,” according to the release.
Williams urged the public to be patient as the vaccination process continues and to be vigilant about infection control measures.
“It will be a while before it’s available to the general population and even then we have to continue with our infection control measures,” she said.