Rural counties around the Ozarks discuss next phase of COVID-19 vaccine distribution
POLK COUNTY, Mo. (KY3) - With distribution now underway in this newest phase of COVID-19 vaccines, rural counties are working to catch up. Some are still in the process of getting their first rounds of vaccines out to frontline health care workers.
Polk County Health Administrator Michelle Morris said they still have about 450 people to vaccinate under the first phase, which mostly covers frontline workers and people living in care centers or veterans homes.
“Our plan is to take care of them and get them vaccinated next week, then we will starting moving into the 1B, tier 1 category that was announced yesterday,” Morris said
Morris hopes to have the vaccine delivered in Polk County next week, but won’t get confirmation until over the weekend. In the meantime, you can fill out the county’s survey to get on the vaccination list.
”Then, as we have vaccine available we will be going back to that list, and just going down to the list and letting people know ‘hey, we are vaccinating your group, here is the date, here is the time for you to show up,’” Morris said.
Morris said when the time comes, Polk County will host drive-thru styled vaccinations, in order to get immunizations out safely.
When the state said this week it’s ready to vaccinate more Missourians, rural health departments were inundated with calls.
”Our call volume increased significantly yesterday,” Morris said.
The same goes for the Stone County Health Department. It took to Facebook to ask people to stop calling.
If people think they qualify for the next round of vaccinations, they’re asked to send a text to one of two numbers on the post.
The Stone County public health administrator tells KY3 the vaccines it ordered have not yet been delivered, and the department has more than 2,000 people signed up to receive the vaccine right now.
The Springfield-Greene County Health Department has taken on a regional role to make sure surrounding areas get the vaccines they need.
”We’re helping to share vaccine among those vaccinators, so if one county has some extra vaccine and another county is in need, we are going to be that central hub to make sure we can connect so everyone does have the vaccine that they need,” said Kathryn Wall with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.
According to its Facebook Page, Webster County is also still waiting on its first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine.
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