COVID vaccines coming soon

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

County expecting to receive Moderna in next month

About one year after its discovery and nine months of widespread infection rates across the United States, a vaccine for COVID-19 is expected to be available soon.

David Compton, Barry County Emergency Management director, said the Barry County Health Department is expecting to receive Moderna vaccinations within coming weeks.

“We will get Moderna because we don’t have the capability to store the Pfizer vaccine at -70 degrees,” he said. “But, Moderna has not been approved by the FDA yet, [as of Monday], but we think it will be soon because Pfizer was approved last week.”

Compton said Pfizer was given the green light on Dec. 10, and by Dec. 13, doses were making their way across the country.

“We don’t know a timeline for sure, but for the general public, it’s looking like April or May at the earliest when the health department will have vaccines available,” Compton said. “They have to follow the state’s rules and the COVID-19 Vaccination Program.”

The state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan, released on Nov. 11, has a multi-phase system for vaccine distribution. Phase 1 will aim to reduce morbidity and mortality, as well as lower stress on the healthcare system. Phase 2’s goal is to secure critical infrastructure and accelerate economic recovery, and Phase 3 is a population-wide vaccination program.

Recipients in Phase 1 will include healthcare workers, pharmacies and people who work in long-term care facilities. After that, long-term care residents are expected to receive doses.

Phase 2 will focus on populations with increased risk of acquiring or transmitting COVID, including minority groups, the homeless, people who live in or work in congregate settings, staff of manufacturing facilities identified as critical infrastructure, etc.

Phase 3 of the plan aims to open vaccinations up to any Missourian that qualifies and needs or wants a vaccine, and at no cost. It will use health centers, clinics, private providers and pharmacies to take on the majority of the vaccination effort for most adults in local areas.

Statewide estimated figures of those in the priority population to receive vaccinations during Phase 1 include:

• 425,000 healthcare employees

• 31,000 first responders,

• 1,075,000 adults 65 or older

• 1,295,000 adults with high-risk conditions

• 16,750 childcare workers

• 250,000 teachers and school staff

• 1,300 water/wastewater employees

• 2,250 energy employees

• 150,000 manufacturing employees

• 50,000 food/ag plant employees

Compton said hospitals in the area will receive their own doses of the vaccine to administer, leaving the health department to focus on other non-hospital critical employees.

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