Mosaic Medical Center - Maryville President Nate Blackford said the overall effect of COVID-19 on Nodaway County is continuing to trend in the right direction as weekly mass vaccination clinics normally held at the Carl and Cheryl Hughes Fieldhouse are being phased out.
This week’s clinic, held Wednesday, April 21, was the last mass clinic where first doses were administered. Three more clinics will be held to finish up second doses as demand for the vaccine in mass quantities dwindles in Nodaway County.
Community Health Nurse Bridget Kenny said 53 Pfizer first doses and 83 second doses, which were mostly Moderna, were handed out at this week’s clinic.
President of Mosaic - Maryville Nate Blackford said this week’s clinic was one of the smallest, if not the smallest clinic the hospital has held since it started mass vaccination clinics.
“It is just purely a reflection on those who have — who wish to get the vaccine have either already done so or have signed up this week,” Blackford said. “I think it’s just a reflection on the decreasing demand for the vaccine that we certainly expected and knew would come at some point.”
Nodaway County Health Department Health Educator and Registered Nurse Suzanne Von Behren said she was happy to see people in the community so enthusiastic about getting their COVID-19 vaccines.
She noted that she hopes community members continue to get vaccinated after the mass vaccination clinics end.
“I look forward to see the continued progress through different venues, so maybe not the mass vaccinations, but through pharmacies, doctors offices, other clinics,” Von Behren said.
Von Behren said the partnership between the University, the health department and Mosaic - Maryville has been amazing. She said she was thankful to be a part of the mass clinics and see the partnership work out well.
Assistant Director of Wellness Services Judy Frueh said the Wellness Center has seen a decrease in testing for COVID-19, which tells her that the mass vaccination clinics made an impact on the community, including the campus.
She hopes that through the continuation of administering vaccines, whether it be through mass clinics or other vaccine administrators, that Nodaway County can get back to a sense of normalcy.
“I’m really proud of the community coming together and I feel like we have made a difference,’ Frueh said.
Blackford noted that even though Mosaic - Maryville is ending the mass vaccination clinics, it plans to implement a vaccination process at the hospital for those who wish to be vaccinated and just did not get the opportunity to prior to the end of the mass clinics.
He also said Mosaic - Maryville will continue to make other opportunities for vaccinations available to people through other vaccine administrators in the county like local pharmacies, the Wellness Center and the Nodaway County Health Department.
Blackford said when Mosaic - Maryville started the mass vaccination clinics, it had hoped to have 50% of the county population vaccinated by the time demand decreased.
According to the Missouri COVID-19 vaccine dashboard, as of April 20, the latest information available, 31.9% of local residents have initiated the vaccination process, and 24.7% of Nodaway Countians have finished the vaccination process. This puts Nodaway County 14 out of 115 counties with the highest percent of population that has received all doses of their COVID-19 vaccination.
If the county had been closer to the 50% Mosaic - Maryville was hoping for, the county would only by about 20% from reaching herd immunity, which was one of the hospital’s goals with the mass vaccination clinics.
“We wanted to make ourselves available through mass vaccine clinics until the demand dictated otherwise, and we have reached that point,” Blackford said.
Despite the ending of mass clinics, Blackford said by the fall semester he hopes to reach the 50% mark.
“I am not yet willing to give up on getting to some number by the fall, or end of the year, that is closer to that 50%-60%,” Blackford said.
He noted if there were to be another spike in demand for COVID-19 vaccines, Mosaic - Maryville would do mass vaccinations again, so long as there is enough demand. If that day never comes, Mosaic - Maryville is working on a plan to administer doses to people at the hospital.
Blackford said the hospital is still working out the details, but he believes it would lump appointments together in order to use all doses in a vial of a COVID-19 vaccine so as to not waste any doses since once the vial is opened, the doses only last about six hours after being mixed with saline.
Blackford encourages people to get vaccinated at any of the vaccination administrators in Nodaway County to continue stifling COVID-19 cases in the county.
According to the Nodaway County and Northwest COVID-19 dashboards, as of April 17, the most current information, one local resident was announced to have tested positive, and 15 other residents currently have COVID-19, three of which are from the University. There have been a total of 2,684 cases in the county, and the seven-day rolling average is two.