Nodaway County is among one of the counties with the highest population of residents who have been vaccinated with their first dose in Missouri.
President of Mosaic Medical Center - Maryville Nate Blackford said this week’s COVID-19 mass vaccination clinic will primarily focus on administering second doses and work to administer some first doses Feb. 26 in the Carl and Cheryl Hughes Fieldhouse, contributing to the county’s population of vaccinated individuals.
According to Missouri’s COVID-19 dashboard as of Feb. 23, Nodaway County has administered 4,779 vaccines — 3,474 being first doses and 1,300 being second doses. Nodaway County’s first dose vaccinated population is 15.7%; to reach herd immunity in a population, it is estimated that 50% to 80% of a population are immune. Nodaway County is ranked 14 out of 115 counties in Missouri as the highest vaccinated population.
The Missouri dashboard shows that Pulaski County, which is home to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, just about 27 miles southwest of Rolla, Missouri, is the county with the least amount of its population vaccinated with first doses at only 4.5%. Shelby County has vaccinated 21.1% of its population, making it the county with the highest vaccinated population in Missouri.
Blackford said vaccine availability in a county and the county’s population size are why some counties have a lower vaccinated population than others.
“We’ve been fortunate because we have had access to the vaccine, and we also have a smaller number of people in our county than, say, Clay County,” Blackford said.
He noted that the county seems to be getting close to finishing up giving first doses to residents who are eligible for the current open tiers and interested in getting a vaccine.
Blackford explained that if the county were to finish administering first doses to everyone who was eligible and interested, then the county would have to pause its vaccination process and wait for other counties to catch up.
“If we get to a point where we have said, ‘OK, we don’t have anybody else to vaccinate,’ then they (the state) want to get St. Louis County caught up before we start doing that next tier in Maryville,” Blackford said.
He noted that if Nodaway County were to begin vaccinating people in tiers that have not been opened by the state, that the state would stop sending the county vaccines.
Blackford explained that going beyond the current open tiers could incentivize people to travel to other counties in Missouri that are ahead in the tiers to get vaccines, disrupting the tracking process from the first vaccine to second vaccine. He said it also creates a bit of an inequality for those who may not be able to travel from one county to another to get vaccinated.
Blackford said that it could be up to four more weeks before Missouri Gov. Mike Parson decides to open up the next tier.
For now, the partnership between Mosaic - Maryville, the Nodaway County Health Department and the University will focus on finishing administering first doses and continue giving second doses.
While the county largely distributes the majority of its vaccines at a weekly vaccine clinic partnership between those agencies, people can also get vaccines at Walmart Inc., Hy-Vee and Rogers Pharmacy.
Walmart Inc. and Hy-Vee are part of the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for COVID-19 Vaccination, which is a partnership between the federal government and 21 national pharmacy partners and independent pharmacy networks to spread the reach of COVID-19 vaccination across the U.S.
Pharmacists Julie Simmerman said Rogers Pharmacy gets vaccines by requesting shipments from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. If the state approves them for a new shipment of vaccines, the request is sent to the federal government which then ships the vaccines to the appropriate vaccine administrator.
At last week’s clinic Feb. 17, Blackford said 711 out of 726 residents who were scheduled for their second vaccine made it to their original scheduled time. He said the 15 people who did not make it to their appointment were rescheduled by the health department. Fifty first doses of the Moderna vaccine were given at this mass clinic.
Blackford also said some people have had very minor side effects from the second dose. Some of those being dizziness or slight fevers that appeared days after people received their second dose.
Blackford said last week’s clinic was the first time their mass clinics administered first doses and second doses at the same time. He explained that Mosaic - Maryville had set up one table to line up those waiting for first doses and three other tables for lines of residents waiting for second doses.
He noted that the administration process for the second dose of the vaccine is the exact same as the first dose.
At this week’s clinic Mosaic - Maryville, the health department and the University will administer 100 first doses of Moderna and nearly 1,000 second doses of Pfizer.
According to Missouri’s COVID-19 dashboard, 1,046,607 vaccines have been administered in the entire state.
As of Feb. 21, the latest information available upon publication, there has been one new COVID-19 case in Nodaway County. As of Feb. 22, Northwest makes up five of the nine cases in the county. There have been 2,559 total cases in the county and the seven-day rolling average is two.