Less than a week ago Nodaway County Health Administrator Tom Patterson was unsure if the county would receive any COVID-19 vaccines. But after getting the latest shipment of a little more than 500 Pfizer vaccines, health care workers administered every dose at a mass clinic Jan. 26.
Mosaic Medical Center - Maryville, the Nodaway County Health Department and the University partnered to host a COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Carl and Cheryl Hughes Fieldhouse.
Although the University did not open until 11 a.m. due to snowfall, the vaccine clinic upheld its original hours.
“We really wanted to make sure the show went on here because it was for the greater good of the community,” President of Mosaic Medical Center - Maryville Nate Blackford said.
Vice President of Student Affairs Matt Baker said the state of Missouri notified Mosaic - Maryville that it should expect an order of 500 Pfizer vaccines. A few of those vaccines were used to finish up vaccinations among the patient-facing hospital staff before the rest were used for the mass clinic.
“Our best guess is we wouldn’t get vaccines for two to six weeks,” Baker said. “Then, Monday, on MLK Day, Mosaic found out they would be given vaccines, so it was literally eight days ago when we found out we would have vaccines available to the community.”
Blackford said the Pfizer vaccine has a waiting period between the first dose and the second dose of 21 days. Before leaving the clinic, patients signed up to receive their second dose.In an email to the Missourian on Jan. 27, Blackford said they were able to pull one extra dose from several vials of the vaccine. This allowed for 700 local residents to receive their first dose of the vaccine.
Patterson and Blackford both said after 2,500 people had signed up for the event, the health department along with Mosaic - Maryville, decided to pause the preregistration so that they could focus on vaccinating this first group of people.
“There’s been an overwhelming, quite frankly, interest in the vaccine,” Blackford said. “We are doing our best to get vaccines in arms as fast as we possibly can.”
Blackford explained that this three-way partnership plans to host several of these mass vaccination events as vaccines become available. He said the goal is to have at least one mass clinic a week as long as there are vaccines to administer.
The president of Mosaic - Maryville also said in the email that in the coming weeks, other locations including pharmacies and government organized events will begin to distribute vaccines. He urged residents to go back to the same vaccine administrator when receiving their second dose.
Patterson noted that the faster the state gives out vaccines, the faster the state can receive them.
COVID-19 vaccines are distributed through a competitive market. Each state is competing with one another for orders of the vaccines. On top of that, areas within the states are competing with one another for orders.
Patterson said events such as the one held Jan. 26 will help give Missouri leverage over other states when requesting vaccines.
According to an article by the Associated Press, Missouri is the last of the states to administer COVID-19 vaccines.
Mary Jo Riley, a licensed practical nurse and the lead nurse of the respiratory walk-in clinic, was vaccinating community members at the event.
She explained that when arriving for their vaccination, people had to register with a front desk. When called upon, individuals were given the vaccine from one of the 16 nurses in attendance. From there, vaccinated people sat in an observation area for at least 15 minutes where they were watched over by other nursing staff for any side effects.
Blackford said as of 11 a.m., only one person had become light headed, but it soon went away. Baker said that person ended up driving themselves home.
Patterson said that as of Jan. 26 the health department has been manually calling people who preregistered to receive the vaccine. He also said he hopes the health department can set up an automated system to handle pre registration through Mosaic - Maryville. This system would keep track of what phase and tier a person qualifies for, what brand of vaccine they get and the scheduling of their doses.
These vaccines arrived in the county when — as of Jan. 23, the latest available data prior to publication — there were 52 cases in the county, eight of which are University-related cases.
As of Jan. 23, the seven-day rolling average for new COVID-19 cases is 3. The total number of cases in the county is 2,501. A total of 21 people have died from COVID-19.