Roughly 350 college-aged people made appointments to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the April 7 mass vaccination clinic at the Carl and Cheryl Hughes Fieldhouse, two days before the state opens eligibility to all Missouri residents including students in Phase 3 of Missouri’s COVID-19 vaccination plan.
Community Health Nurse Bridget Kenny said some students are able to be vaccinated prior to April 9 because because Mosaic Medical Center - Maryville is sending invites to vaccination clinics to whoever is registered on the sign-up list through Mosaic - Maryville’s website. She noted that some students may qualify through other tiers, but anyone who is pre registered should receive an invite as long as Mosaic - Maryville has vaccines to administer.
The University sent out a second email to students April 5 reminding them that vaccine registration is open for them to sign up for the mass vaccination clinics, hosted on Northwest’s campus in partnership with Mosaic and the Nodaway County Health Department.
This week’s mass vaccination event was held April 7, where roughly 1,132 people were scheduled to receive either a first or second dose of the vaccine.
Kenny said that 564 first doses were administered, mostly consisting of Moderna, along with 568 second doses, which were mostly Pfizer vaccines. Due to these mass clinics, other vaccine administrators in the area and mitigation measures, local COVID-19 cases have consistently remained low.
Mosaic Medical Center - Maryville President Nate Blackford said the entire Mosaic Life Care system, which includes three hospitals, and more than 60 clinics and outpatient locations, had only one COVID-19 patient in all of its hospitals April 3, which was a large milestone after a yearlong battle that continues on.
“Good has been the theme for the last several weeks,” Blackford said about COVID-19 cases. “That’s as low as it’s been since, you know, probably this time last year.”
Blackford also noted that just because trends of COVID-19 cases look good locally does not mean that it is time for celebration.
According to the Nodaway County and Northwest COVID-19 dashboards, as of April 5, the latest information available, 17 county residents currently have COVID-19, eight of which are Northwest staff or students. A total of 2,667 Nodaway Countians have had the coronavirus, and 23 local residents have died since the virus first arrived last April.
According to the Missouri COVID-19 dashboard, as of April 6, Nodaway County is 19 out of 115 counties with the highest percent of population that has initiated the vaccination process at 26.9%.
Blackford said although cases and prevalence of COVID-19 are low, the county continues to run the risk of a spike in cases so long as COVID-19 exists in the county.
In order to keep cases low, Blackford encouraged people to continue following mitigation efforts, despite the removal of the mask mandate almost two weeks ago, and to get vaccinated.
April 9 will open up eligibility to roughly 1.1 million Missourians through Phase 3, which may lead to an influx in demand for the vaccine.
Blackford said he felt that Mosaic - Maryville was ready to take on an increase in those willing to get the vaccine. He noted that the only obstacle that may come into play is supply and demand.
“We are still at the mercy of the state and the federal government to release those (vaccines) as scheduled,” Blackford said.
He noted that at one point, the hospital did have a problem with some doses not arriving on time, but it was quickly resolved.
Blackford explained that for government entities to distribute large amounts of doses to their allocated administrators it is a difficult logistical task. Being that this distribution process was made quickly when vaccines began receiving approval from the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use, the process is imperfect but is capable of doing its job.
Despite the flawed distribution system, Blackford said he has no current concerns about vaccine supply or Mosaic - Maryville’s preparedness for the opening of Phase 3 April 9.