Tier 3 of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan is finally here in Missouri. All residents over the age of 16 will be eligible to get their first round of shots as soon as next week.
The influx of Northwest students expected to sign up for the vaccination clinics at Carl & Cheryl Hughes Fieldhouse could create a logistical nightmare. In order to prevent issues, if students aren’t planning on getting their second round of the vaccine in Maryville, they shouldn’t get their first one here either.
As ridiculous as it is that we have to say it, we on the editorial staff are pro-vaccine. The Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines — the three COVID-19 vaccines that have been cleared for use in the U.S. at the time of publication — all underwent thorough scientific tests. No person, save for those with rare allergies and certain underlying medical conditions, should feel uneasy about the safety of the vaccine.
It may seem counterintuitive to discourage some from getting the vaccine as soon as possible, but it will greatly help the whole system in the long term. Nate Blackford, president of Mosaic - Maryville, told The Missourian that it would be best if all community members got their first dose where they planned to get their second.
It all has to do with the way vaccines are being given out. When a person gets a vaccine, the provider and area keep a record of when they get the first dose, so in the case of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, they make sure they can get their booster at the correct time.
If a student were to sign up to receive their first round in Maryville at a Mosaic, then Mosaic would automatically make sure that they set out a booster for that student. If the student then leaves Maryville in the time being and returns home, then that already earmarked booster could go to waste. The same issue could happen on the other end, as the area the student is traveling into would be unprepared to give out a booster to the person they never gave the initial dose.
It would not be an end of the world situation if this were to happen. Yes, it is possible for students to get the first round of the vaccine in Maryville and the second round somewhere else, but it will place more strain on the system.
Right now the U.S. is doing quite well in vaccine rollout. This is rather uncharacteristic given its response to almost everything else in the pandemic. The U.S. is currently administering COVID-19 vaccines five times faster than the world average. President Joe Biden recently announced that all adults will be eligible for the vaccine in the U.S. April 19. We could see the U.S. only continue to outpace other countries, or we could see the system bogged down by confusion.
This opening the vaccine for all comes at the best possible time for those looking to be vaccinated in time for summer but perhaps at the worst logistical time for students. The end of Northwest’s semester is mere weeks away, and many who will be getting their first round of the vaccine will be long gone from Maryville by the time they are ready for their second round, which is given three or four weeks after the initial dose for Pfizer and Moderna, respectively.
As we saw with our attempt to flatten the curve, sometimes eagerness can be the enemy in dealing with COVID-19. We want you to get the vaccine, but if you aren’t going to get the second round here, don’t get the first one here.