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Springfield-Greene County Health Dept. partners with Missouri National Guard to expand COVID-19 vaccination efforts

Published: Apr. 19, 2021 at 4:35 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The Springfield-Greene County Health Department announced a new partnership with the Missouri National Guard.

Six Adaptive Vaccination Teams (AVTs) have been deployed to Region D to assist in COVID-19 vaccination efforts. These teams, including a team assigned to Greene County, will expand the health department’s capacity and allow for more opportunities for individuals to receive a vaccine in more locations throughout the community.

Coordinating with the vaccine outreach and education team, the AVT will hold vaccine clinics in areas of our community with lower vaccination rates or in locations where they can reach unvaccinated individuals. It will also provide additional capacity at our vaccination clinic in partnership with Jordan Valley Community Health Center. Addressing vaccine hesitancy while increasing accessibility by bringing the vaccine to those who need it will allow more people to get vaccinated.

“If we can make it as easy as possible as well as, as accessible as possible to as many people, then we’ll really start to see that number of fully vaccinated people in our community continue to rise,” said Aaron Schekorra, public information specialist with the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

He said the health department is trying to expand its reach by offering more vaccination clinics across the region. He said having a team from the National Guard will make it possible to offer more clinics for companies or community groups.

“A team will be able to be basically booked at a location, whether that’s a one-time location out in the community, maybe at a large event or whether that’s visiting the same location multiple times,” he said.

Michelle Morris said the Polk County Health Department has been relying on pharmacies and drive-thru vaccination clinics. She said National Guard staff helped with last week’s clinic in Bolivar.

“It really does make a huge difference when you may only have five people on staff running a mass vaccination clinic, it can be a little bit daunting,” Morris said. “I know the health department’s have been making it work and this just really gives them the opportunity to probably serve more people through their clinics.”

Morris said Polk County will be sharing its National Guard team with Webster, Hickory and Dallas Counties. She said it provides more access to vaccines for people living in rural areas.

“It also allows the health department staff to go back to some of the regular things that are waiting on them to be taken care of so I think there’s several benefits to having them in our communities,” she said.

Schekorra said COVID-19 knows no city limits or county lines, and getting vaccines to everyone across the region, brings the Ozarks one step closer to normalcy.

“We really need these opportunities in our communities to increase that capacity so more people in southwest Missouri, across the entire state and the entire country can get access to the COVID-19 vaccine,” he said.

Groups interested in hosting a one-time or recurring COVID-19 vaccination clinics should contact the Health Department’s Outreach Team at coronavirus@springfieldmo.gov or call 417-874-1211 for more information.

This and other examples of collaboration in our community will strengthen our momentum toward the goal of fully vaccinating 70% of our residents. The Springfield-Greene County Health Department is grateful to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and the Missouri National Guard for making this initiative possible.

Those needing a COVID-19 vaccine can sign up for next available opportunity at vaccine417.com. For questions or assistance with scheduling an appointment contact the Springfield-Greene County Health Department’s COVID-19 call center at 417-874-1211.

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