Gov. Mike Parson announced Wednesday that the Missouri National Guard will help the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and other state partners in establishing COVID-19 vaccination sites across the state.
A mass vaccination team will be assigned to each of Missouri's nine Highway Patrol regions, a release from the governor’s office said.
"The Missouri National Guard is once again answering the call to help Missourians in time of need," Parson said. "The purpose of these vaccination teams is to support our existing vaccinators and provide an additional vaccination source for eligible Missourians that may otherwise have a hard time receiving a vaccine."
The Missouri National Guard is providing teams of soldiers and airmen to help establish and staff mass vaccination and targeted vaccination sites. The National Guard will also deploy administrative teams to aid local agencies and other providers with data backlogs.
Missouri National Guard mass vaccination teams consist of 30 support personnel who help with traffic control, administrative support and data input. Targeted vaccination teams consist of four-person teams with one vaccinator and three support staff to help with administrative duties. Administrative support teams consist of three personnel to help providers with paperwork and data backlogs due to vaccination entry requirements.
A mass vaccination site is scheduled to begin this week in the Southeastern region, and other sites will be operational in the remaining eight Highway Patrol regions by the end of January. These sites can provide up to 2,500 doses per day, per team. Details concerning dates and locations are being finalized.
Targeted vaccination sites provide vaccines to populations outside the reach of mass vaccination sites, as designated by DHSS. Target vaccination teams will work with clergies and community leaders in the Kansas City and St. Louis regions to vaccinate vulnerable populations. Teams staffing these sites can provide up to 160 doses per day, per team.
Vaccine supply remains extremely limited, according to the governor’s office. Demand for the vaccine far outweighs the current supply the state is allotted by the federal government. Missourians are encouraged to visit MoStopsCOVID.com to see the latest vaccine updates, find out when they are eligible for the vaccine, and locate available vaccinators in their area.
Local health departments are still waiting for more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Ste. Genevieve County Health Department said on Monday it still has no update on vaccines and doesn’t know when it will be open for vaccine registrations.
“Once we get confirmation from the state, we will open up for appointments,” the update on its website said. “Until then, we do not have a waiting list. We hope to be able to vaccinate the remainder of 1A soon so we can start on the next phase.”
On Tuesday, the Madison County Health Department posted on its Facebook page the facility is waiting for more doses.
"All doses that we received have been scheduled and accounted for,” the update said. “We will release a notification when we receive more vaccine. Thank you for your patience and understanding. This is a difficult time for us all and we are doing our best to get more vaccine.”
The Washington County Health Department said on Tuesday a vaccine pre-registration sheet will be in this week’s Independent Journal. Pre-registration can also be done over the phone, 573-438-2164, or in person.
“We are planning to hold vaccine clinics when the vaccine becomes available,” the update said. “We have ordered the vaccine but do not have a shipment date just yet.”
Vaccine pre-registration with the St. Francois County Health Center can be found at http://sfchc.org/covid-19-updates/covid-19-vaccine/.
In Iron County, pre-registration can be done over the phone with the health department at 573-546-7121 or with Iron County Medical Center at 573-546-1260.
Long-term care update
Resident vaccination has begun at Americare Senior Living facilities in Farmington, according to a release from Americare.
Southbrook began COVID-19 vaccinations last Thursday. Ashbrook begins Thursday and Maplebrook and the Arbors on Friday.
In addition, the company and the communities are undertaking a proactive education campaign, the release said.
Americare has partnered with CVS and Walgreens was part of the federal roll-out program, depending on which pharmacy is more convenient for each facility. Schedules are dependent on local availability.
Clinics are being established for administering the vaccine at each community and all residents and family members are being communicated with directly about arrangements. Because the vaccine requires two doses administered approximately 21 to 28 days apart, each community will have three clinic dates set to ensure each resident has the opportunity to receive two vaccines. Residents who move into a community before the second clinic date will qualify to receive their vaccine at the community.
The vaccination clinics are for residents and employees only and are not open to the public.
The educational outreach initiated by Americare in its communities to its residents and their families includes frequently asked questions about the vaccine components, the safety and path to approval, side effects, who can get the vaccine, procedures for vaccinations at each facility, and recommended continued safety procedures after the vaccine is received.
“The health and wellbeing of our residents is our number one priority at Americare, so as expected we are approaching the opportunity to administer the COVID-19 vaccine with utmost urgency and detailed planning,” says Clay Crosson, President and Chief Operating Officer for Americare. “
Even after the vaccine is administered, Americare will continue to take all necessary precautions, including wearing of personal protective equipment and conducting regular testing and temperature checks, the release said. Each community will work with public health officials to determine how and when to adjust policies for visitations and social activities after vaccines are administered.