VERSAILLES- Since Governor Mike Parson's announcement in January, mass vaccination clinics have had goals to vaccinate thousands of Missouri residents.
On Monday, the Morgan County Health Center began a two-day long mass vaccination event at the First Assembly of God Church in Versailles.
Troop F would like to thank the Missouri National Guard soldiers, medical personnel and volunteers for making it possible to administer 1,500 COVID vaccination shots in less than 36 hours. The Morgan County community appreciates everything you’ve sacrificed to make this happen. pic.twitter.com/8QOoNn3uo1— MSHP Troop F (@MSHPTrooperF) February 23, 2021
The two-day event is held in conjunction with Capital Region Medical Center, the Missouri National Guard and the State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA). This was one of the many mass vaccination sites that have been coordinated with the state.
The coordination between the health department and National Guard was a positive of the event.
"(The event) went pretty smoothly so far, let's hope it continues that way" Shawn Brantley, Administrator for Morgan County Health Center, said.
The National Guard helped with the logistics, parking, and other administrative needs. Captain Joseph Nelson praised the work at the event Monday.
"It’s a very gratifying feeling, all of us are from Missouri, and we love the opportunity to serve and give back to fellow Missourians. Keep folks out of hospitals and save lives, it’s really gratifying,” Nelson said.
The event had 12 vaccinators in total and had up to 70 people working in total. The event has 1,500 doses available and split the vaccines to 750 Monday and Tuesday. Appointments were made necessary, to not overflow the site.
While the event has been successful, reaction toward the vaccine has been mixed.
"Everybody is very divided on this, and they’re one side or the other for the most part… They either really want it, or they really don’t," Brantley said.
Vaccinations in rural areas are key to make sure people in high-risk areas are getting vaccines as well. Morgan County has a population of 20,627 and currently has a 10.5% vaccination rate, according to the state vaccination dashboard. That's about 2,733 total vaccine doses and 2,172 first doses given.
Big events and local promotion are things that Brantley hopes will help getting more people vaccinated.
“I think the biggest thing that’s been a barrier is getting people to understanding which tier is available to get the vaccine right now and once that's become more clear, people have understood better, and they know they’ll be able to sign up later on. They don’t need to panic right now if they’re not in that current tier," Brantley said.
Some participants, like Lawrence Lile, were excited to receive a vaccination.
“It’s been a year of such stress, and uncertainty, and anxiety, about everything. And it seems like the lights at the end of the tunnel maybe," Lile said.
There are still slots open at the event, according to the state's website. To register, click here, and scroll to Region F. You will need to enter the event ID: 66138 when prompted.
Vaccine appointments are scheduled from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. for those eligible in Phase 1A and Phase 1B-Tier 1 & 2.
Vaccine recipients are asked to be available 28 days after their first dose in order to receive their second dose. Appointments for those second doses will be made while making the appointment for the first dose.