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Local hospitals to be high volume COVID-19 vaccination sites


SoutheastHEALTH and Saint Francis
Healthcare System will both receives a high level of COVID-19 vaccines from the
State of Missouri this month.


The Department of Health and Senior
Services announced last week that both healthcare systems in Cape Girardeau
County have been chosen as the high-throughput allocation sites for southeast
Missouri (Region E).


For the month of February, the state
is committing about 53 percent of its allocation of COVID-19 vaccines to these
high throughput hospitals. The State of Missouri currently receives around
76,000 doses per week from the federal government.


“We are committed to fairly
allocating doses in regions throughout the state and working with vaccinators
to ensure efficient administration of the vaccine,” Governor Mike Parson said.
“Our partnership with the selected hospitals will help provide the consistency
needed for effective planning of high-volume vaccine clinics to occur at the local
level.”


All the hospitals chosen have the
capability to administer 5,000 vaccines in a week. Actual allocations for each
selected hospital will be proportional to the region’s population.


“Our plan continues to remain
focused on saving lives and fair distribution to ensure accessibility no matter
where in the state you live,” Dr. Randall Williams, DHSS director, said. “We
believe this approach will help safely get vaccines in arms throughout the
state as efficiently as possible.”


SoutheastHEALTH received their first
allocation of the month last week and is scheduled to receive its second round
of vaccines the week of Feb. 15. Saint Francis Healthcare System is scheduled
to receive vaccines this week and the week of Feb. 22.


Vaccinations are currently open to
anyone 65 years old or older, as well as those with high-risk health
conditions, healthcare workers and essential workers included in Phase 1B Tier
1. A full list of those included in the open tiers is listed at
covidvaccine.mo.gov/priority.


Those eligible to receive the
vaccine can call 573-381-5958 or visit www.sfmc.net/vaccine to schedule an
appointment at Saint Francis Medical Center this week. To sign up for
SoutheastHEALTH’s COVID-19 vaccine waiting list, visit SEhealth.org/COVID.


In addition to the high throughput
hospitals, 23 percent of the state’s allocation will be devoted to mass
vaccination events coordinated by the Missouri National Guard, with the
remaining supply split equally between local public health agencies, federally
qualified health centers and remaining community health providers requesting
vaccines.


Cape Girardeau County Public Health
Center Director Jane Wernsman said she expects the health center to receive
fewer COVID-19 vaccine doses in the future, due to the state’s redistribution
plan.


“If you do look at hospital
settings, especially across the state, they probably do have more staff
availability and more space availability to hold those mass clinics,” Wernsman
said. “From our perspective, that might allow us to then focus on some target
areas of high-risk populations that wouldn’t traditionally seek out the
vaccination and try to work with those groups.”


Cape Girardeau County is scheduled
to have another mass vaccination event with the Missouri National Guard on Feb.
19 at the Show Me Center. The event will provide second doses to the 1,848
people who received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine at the Show Me
Center on Jan. 29.


As of Feb. 8, around 14.1% of Cape Girardeau County
residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Between the Cape
Girardeau County Public Health Center and the two hospitals, county vaccinators
have administered more than 23,000 doses. More than 10,000 of those vaccines
have been given to people outside the county.

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past four years. He can be reached at cbjedit@socket.net.

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