Ozarks Healthcare, Missouri National Guard, Howell County Health Department, and City of West Plains hosts First Mass COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic in West Plains
Ozarks Healthcare, the Missouri National Guard, Howell County Health Department, and City of West Plains partnered to present the first mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the West Plains Civic Center on Friday, January 29. Over 2,800 initial doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine were administered to eligible individuals according to the state of Missouri’s vaccination plan.
Missourians currently qualify for vaccination based on priority phases. Eligible individuals who received the vaccine on Friday included those in Phase 1A, Phase 1B-Tier 1, and Phase 1B-Tier 2 as defined by the state of Missouri’s vaccination plan.
• Eligible Phase 1A individuals include: healthcare workers, long-term care facility residents, and staff.
• Eligible Phase 1B-Tier 1 individuals include: first responders and emergency personnel.
• Eligible Phase 1B-Tier 2 individuals include: high-risk individuals for severe COVID-19 illness, including those 65 years of age or older, those with a body mass index greater than 30, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, hypertension, and chronic heart disease.
Katie Mahan, Director of Ozarks Healthcare’s Pharmacy and vaccinator at Friday’s clinic, said the event was highly anticipated by the health system.
“We are so excited to be able to start getting this vaccine out into the public,” Mahan said. “As a health system, we believe this is another positive milestone in our battle against COVID-19. Being able to help share doses of what we believe is equivalent to hope to our community’s most vulnerable is an honor. We are thankful to have worked as a team with our state and city partners to start getting this vaccine out into the public, and we hope to administer more doses through continued efforts.”
Earlier this month, Missouri Governor Mike Parson activated the Missouri National Guard to assist in establishing and staffing mass COVID-19 vaccination and targeted vaccination sites. Friday’s partnership between Ozarks Healthcare, the Missouri National Guard, Howell County Health Department, and City of West Plains marked the first mass vaccination clinic to occur in Howell County and the City of West Plains. There are approximately 1,300 vaccination sites for all activated phases and tiers across the state of Missouri.
While having a location listed on this map wasn’t anticipated a year ago, West Plains City Administrator Tom Stehn said this is an accomplishment for West Plains.
“We didn’t expect to be listed on this map a year ago, before we entered a pandemic,” Stehn said. “Being marked one of 1,300 pinpointed locations in Missouri as providing what we hope is a light to the end of this virus’s tunnel is an achievement our city can be proud of.”
Howell County Health Department Director Chris Gilliam also stated Friday’s clinic was a move in a positive direction for the health and wellbeing of the county’s population.
“Recent reports have shown the percentage of Missourians who have received the COVID-19 vaccine so far to be low,” Gilliam said. “While many factors such as national vaccine availability affect this number, we are excited to partner with our community health system and state and city resources to increase our numbers of those vaccinated here locally.”
Through a continued partnership with the Missouri National Guard, Howell County Health Department, and City of West Plains, Ozarks Healthcare anticipates being able to offer more mass vaccination clinics for the public soon. Although the organization’s last shipment of vaccines has been used accordingly for eligible individuals, more doses have been ordered.
“We are thankful for a successful first mass vaccination clinic and look forward to being able to start our next round of vaccinations as soon as possible,” Tom Keller, Ozarks Healthcare President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), said. “By continuing to work together with our state and local partners, we are confident our vaccination efforts will lead us to a brighter days as we continue to walk through this pandemic. Ozarks Healthcare is ready to continue doing our part in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and provide more vaccinations to our community as eligibility and vaccine supplies open up.”
For more information about COVID-19 vaccines and future mass vaccination clinic announcements, please visit www.ozarkshealthcare.com.
Ozarks Healthcare is a system of care encompassing eight primary care and 17 specialty clinics, along with complete rehabilitation, behavioral healthcare, and home health services. While the 114-bed acute care hospital cares for more than 5,400 admissions, the entire health system has more than 364,000 patient visits annually in South Central Missouri and Northern Arkansas. For more information about Ozarks Healthcare, visit www.OzarksHealthcare.com.
Chad Gleghorn, Ozarks Healthcare Inpatient Pharmacy Director, administers a COVID-19 vaccine to Jack McNevin. McNevin is 97 years old and a World War II veteran. McNevin was among approximately 2,800 individuals who received the initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Friday’s mass vaccination clinic.
Ozarks Healthcare coworkers prepared over 2,800 vaccine syringes to be administered on January 29 in the West Plains Civic Center.
A Family Affair: McNevin is pictured with daughters Susie Warden (left) and Sunnie Pace (right) at Friday’s mass vaccination clinic. All three family members were among over 2,800 eligible individuals who received their initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Friday.