The St. Francois County Health Center is seeing a slowdown at its COVID-19 vaccine clinics, according to Director Linda Ragsdale.
“We are seeing lagging (hesitancy) in our community,” she said.
The health center is offering vaccinations daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. On this Tuesday, the clinic will go from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
“We recently lost our support from the National Guard (effective 5/27/21), their orders ended for us,” Ragsdale said. “We will still have volunteers (local retired nurses) assisting and the availability to request non-medical assistance from AmeriCorp.”
According to the state’s vaccine dashboard, 26% of the population in the county have completed and 30.7% have initiated vaccination.
As for COVID-19 cases, the county has recorded 16 confirmed cases over the past week and the seven-day positivity rate is 3%.
Ragsdale said they continue to encourage vaccination and try to decrease any burdens or barriers that the community may have.
“Our current COVID vaccination rates are certainly not where we want them to be, but it is understandable that individuals are hesitant due to various reasons,” she added.
With the approval of the Pfizer vaccine for 12-15 year olds, the health center has done a couple of clinics for students. They vaccinated 95 students at a clinic at the Farmington Field House a couple of weeks ago. The second doses will be given next week. And they vaccinated 21 students at West County last month.
“Since we do not have ultra-cold storage, we do not keep Pfizer vaccine on-hand, but we are able to get this through other health departments,” Ragsdale explained. “We then store it in the refrigerator for up to 30 days.”
Parkland Health Mart will be having a walk-in clinic on from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 12 at all five of its locations (Desloge, Farmington, Fredericktown, Ironton, and Piedmont).
Parkland Health Center is offering vaccines by appointment at the Medical Arts Clinic, 1103 West Liberty Street in Farmington. To make an appointment, call 573-705-1282.
Vaccines are also available by appointment at area pharmacies, including Parkland Health Mart, Pharmax, Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens.
Vaccines are free and no health insurance is required to get the shots.
As for the surrounding counties, Ste. Genevieve tops the list with 28.7% of the population having completed vaccination. Jefferson is at 26% with St. Francois. Iron is at 22.9%, Madison at 22.3%, and Washington at 18.9%
In the state, 35% of the population has completed vaccination and 52.4% of the population 18 and over have completed it. Boone County leads the state with 41.6% and Pulaski is at the bottom with 10.2%.
President Joe Biden has set a goal of 70% of the adult population being vaccinated by July 4.
According to data from the New York Times, at the current vaccination pace, the country as a whole is roughly on track to meet that goal, but it will take Missouri five months, which leaves it ahead of just seven other states.
Nikki Overfelt-Chifalu is a reporter for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at email@example.com.