Second Mass COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic hosted in West Plains
Ozarks Healthcare, the Missouri National Guard, Howell County Health Department, and City of West Plains partnered to present a second mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the West Plains Civic Center on Friday, Feb. 26. Originally scheduled to occur last week, the clinic was postponed due to winter weather in the area. Booster (second) doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine were administered to those who received their initial dose of the vaccine at the community’s first mass clinic on Jan. 29. Over 2,700 eligible individuals according to the state of Missouri’s vaccination plan received their second dose on Friday’s clinic.
“Today is a great day for our community,” Katie Mahan, Director of Ozarks Healthcare’s Pharmacy and vaccinator at Friday’s clinic, said. “We have heard many of our community’s most vulnerable say how they have more hope and a feeling of safety after leaving today’s clinic. The logistics and teamwork that have gone into our vaccination clinics have consisted of many long hours, but each shot administered and smile received from community members makes every minute of preparation more than worthwhile. We are honored to offer this form of protection and what we hope is the beginning of an end to this pandemic in our region.”
Missourians in Phase 1A and Phase 1B - Tier 1 and Tier 2 are currently eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 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. Missouri Governor Mike Parson announced the state will activate Phase 1B - Tier 3 of its COVID-19 Vaccine Plan in mid-March.
• 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.
• Eligible Phase 1B - Tier 3 will include: K-12 educators and school employees, child care providers, grocery store employees, energy, food, agriculture workers, critical infrastructure workers, and others “protecting those who keep the essential functions of society running.”
Friday’s partnership between Ozarks Healthcare, the Missouri National Guard, Howell County Health Department, and City of West Plains marked the second mass vaccination clinic to occur in the City of West Plains. Mass vaccination sites are meant to provide a vaccination source for eligible Missourians that may otherwise have a hard time receiving a vaccine.
West Plains City Administrator Tom Stehn said he hopes this partnership will continue to allow more vaccines to be administered in West Plains as eligibility and state phases open.
“As we look forward to the arrival of spring and warmer weather, we want to get close back to a normal way of life,” Stehn said. “By continuing vaccination efforts with our state and local partners, we believe we can make strides towards achieving this goal.”
Vaccination statistics seem to be pointing toward a positive direction, Howell County Health Department Director Chris Gilliam said.
“Over 10.5 percent of Howell County’s 40,117 residents have received at least one vaccine dose,” Gilliam said. “While this percentage continually increases alongside mass vaccination events such as today’s clinic, COVID-19 positivity rates are dropping. The state's current positivity rate is just slightly over six percent, down from over 20 percent in November. While it will take continued efforts of masking, social distancing, and distributing more vaccines to improve these statistics, our hope is that we can continue to make an impact here locally by encouraging continued protective measures with our state and community partners.”
Along 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 and smaller scaled clinics soon. Ozarks Healthcare hosted three smaller clinics to administer first and second doses of the Moderna vaccine earlier this week, providing approximately 1,350 vaccinations to eligible individuals.
“Vaccine supply to Ozarks Healthcare and other health systems across the state is expected to increase soon,” Tom Keller, Ozarks Healthcare President and CEO, said. “As long as individuals are registered online with the Missouri Navigator, they should be notified of when future clinics in their region become available. We are excited to host more targeted vaccination clinics on our campus and continue partnering to bring mass vaccination clinics to our region.”
Dates for future mass vaccination clinics in West Plains and targeted clinics held at Ozarks Healthcare are to be determined but will be announced. Missouri residents interested in receiving either their first or booster (second) dose of the vaccine at future vaccine clinics should sign up through the Missouri Vaccine Navigator, which can be accessed through Ozarks Healthcare’s website at https://www.ozarkshealthcare.com/ or https://covidvaccine.mo.gov/. If internet accessibility is an issue, the Navigator Hotline can be reached by calling 877-435-8411. Once you are registered, you will receive notifications regarding future vaccine clinics and eligibility updates.
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.
Over 2,700 eligible individuals according to the state of Missouri’s vaccination plan received their second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Friday’s mass vaccination clinic.
Staff from Ozarks Healthcare, the Missouri National Guard, Howell County Health Department, and City of West Plains welcome attendees to Friday’s mass vaccination clinic.