Vaccines being given in next phase

Thursday, January 28, 2021
Mark Pierson, chief of the Eagle Rock-Golden-Mano Fire Department, receives a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination from Nurse Melissa Barrientos at the Barry County Health Department office in Cassville Friday. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

300 doses being administered in Barry, Lawrence counties this weekend

The availability of COVID-19 vaccines lately has been hit and miss, but Friday and this weekend, Barry and Lawrence counties will administer a combined 300 vaccines to residents.

Roger Brock, Barry County Health Department administrator, said his office plans to deliver just over 100 Pfizer vaccines on Friday. So far, Barry County has given about 130 Moderna vaccines.

Debra Lea, of Eagle Rock, receives a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination from Nurse Melissa Barrientos at the Barry County Health Department office in Cassville Friday. Kyle Troutman/editor@cassville-democrat.com

“We are now in Phase 1B, which extends to people 65 and older, first responders, anyone in Phase 1A that did not get a vaccine and many other government agencies and population-specific groups,” he said.

Brock said Barry County switched from Moderna to Pfizer due to availability.

“We shared an order with Taney, Christian and Hickory counties for the Pfizer doses, and we have to administer those within five days,” he said. “We don’t have the ability to handle Pfizer for long-term periods because of the cold storage requirement. A full shipment of 975 doses can stay in the cooler it comes in for up to 30 days, and you have to put new dry ice on it every five days.”

While Moderna requires a second dose after 28 days, Pfizer requires a second dose after 21. Brock said his office prefers Moderna because it’s easier to deal with, but either vaccine type is welcomed.

“We will do a drive-thru vaccination at the health department office [in Cassville], with scheduled time slots,” he said. “We then hold people for 15 minutes after for observation before moving in the next group. We have not had any adverse reactions so far.”

Brock said with Moderna, side effects the department has seen have included soreness at the injection site, light fever and runny nose, but nothing serious.

“[When I took it], I had some fatigue and a sore arm after the second dose,” he said. “The first dose, I just had the sore arm.”

Brock said he is not sure when more vaccines may become available.

“They are tough to get right now because the state is only getting a limited amount, and that has to be divided between the 114 counties,” he said.

To get on the list for a vaccine in Barry County, people may call the Health Department at 417-847-2114.

Lawrence County Health Department Educator Tana Bradshaw said her office has received its first delivery of vaccines, 200 Moderna doses that are all spoken for.

“It is no secret that the current supply of vaccine used to fight COVID-19 is in short supply,” she said. “The Lawrence County Health Department finally received their long awaited order of 200 doses this week, but it will hardly meet the demand of residents who are on the lengthy waiting list. “We know it’s confusing and frustrating to the public. We would love nothing more than to have thousands of doses to provide to our residents, but that’s just not realistic at the moment.”

Bradshaw said the state of Missouri’s vaccine roll out has been a slow process, and most health departments haven’t received any of the orders they placed in mid-December.

“We got notification on Monday that our December order was being delivered Wednesday, so we immediately activated our plan to start vaccinating two days later,” she said. “We had only started a waiting list the Friday before, so we were thankful we had people to call. It’s not much, but it’s a start and we are extremely excited.”

Bradshaw said it’s still up in the air about when another shipment may be delivered. Orders are placed at the beginning of each week, and then the department waits to see if it is fulfilled.

“There is no guarantee,” she said. “Every day, information changes, so it makes it difficult to plan too far in advance.”

Bradshaw said those in Lawrence County meeting current phase requirements and wanting a vaccine may call the department at 417-466-2201 to get on the waiting list.

The Arc of the Ozarks will host a vaccine clinic for staff and individuals with disabilities on Friday.

The Arc, an area nonprofit which provides services for adults with intellectual disabilities, will vaccinate their clients and staff members at their Monett office on 1010 Old Airport Road from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday. Alps Pharmacy will provide staff to administer the vaccine for the drive-thru style clinic.

Many of the people The Arc supports have underlying health conditions which put them at a greater risk if they contract COVID-19. Some also live in group settings that increase the chances of spreading the virus.

This is the first clinic of its kind for the clients and the staff. A clinic for the second dose has been scheduled for a later date.

Vaccinators in the State of Missouri are only allowed to vaccinate people in the following Phases:

Phase 1A

• Healthcare Workers

• Long-Term Care Facility Staff and Residents

• Home Health

• Urgent Care

• Vaccination Staff

• Congregate Community

• School Nurses

• Dental Office Staff

• Mental/Behavior Health Providers

• EMS/EMT/Paramedics

Phase 1B, Tier 1

• First Responders

• Public Health Administrators and Staff

• Law Enforcement

• Fire Services

• Corrections

• Emergency Management

• Public Works

• Emergency Services

• Morticians and Embalmers

Phase 1B, Tier 2

• Anyone aged 65 and older

• Any adults with cancer, Chronic Kidney Disease, COPD, heart conditions, weakened immune system due to organ transplant, severe obesity (BMI >40), pregnancy, Sickle Cell Disease, Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, or individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities such as Down Syndrome.

For a more complete priority lists and additional vaccine information, people may go to mostopscovid.com.

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