MEXICO - Almost 2,300 people received their second shot of the Pfizer vaccine Thursday in Audrain County.
The event was part of the state’s mass vaccination events, held in conjunction with the Missouri National Guard. The event was rescheduled to Thursday after winter weather canceled the original second dose clinic last week.
Gina McCulley and her father both got the shot Wednesday at a new location, the Mexico Area Family YMCA. She said she felt a sense of relief.
"It will make me feel more at ease with all the COVID mess and would be nice if things got somewhat back to normal because people were sick of quarantine," McCulley said.
Orthopedic surgeon Kathleen Weaver is among those giving vaccinations. She said the process has moved much more smoothly this time around.
"It's fantastic. I happened to be at the first one, and it was first come first serve and it was very exciting. This is much calmer and much easier but we also knew how many people we were going to have since its the second shot. It's much easier to organize," she said.
McCulley agreed that everything went smoothly.
"This was a lot smoother and I literally just got in in like, five minutes and it was so smooth," she said.
The thousands of people who received their second dose will be much less vulnerable to COVID-19, but it make take some time to fully take effect.
"After the first one you can have up to 50% of immunity. After the second it's somewhere close to 90, but you're not totally immune until about three weeks after the second shot," Weaver said.
Some people will experience side effects after receiving their second dose. Weaver says not to be alarmed.
"There are a fair number of people who say their arm is more sore and have flu-like symptoms the next day, but that's not a bad thing. It means your body is mounting a response so if you do run into the COVID virus you could be potentially immune," she said.
Craig Brace is the administrator and CEO of the Audrain County Health Department. He says that despite the delay, these shots were still given at the proper time.
"It's still okay giving doses up to six weeks. Today, we're at 35 days," he said.
Brace says the department is making sure that no vaccines are allowed to spoil.
"We will redistribute them to other county health departments and work with DHHS to help us find where we can distribute it. No vaccine will go to waste," he said.
Brace says Thursday's event was a great success.
It's an incredible feeling to be able to do this and we're pleased we can vaccinate such a large group of individuals not just from Audrain County but across the region and the state. We're super happy to get to do this," he said.
Weaver was proud to help distribute vaccines.
"It's so nice to be a part of history. It's making sure we do the best we can by our community folks and our public health folks have been stellar, and the military coming... That attitude has been amazing and wonderful to be a part of," she said.