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Health departments and medical providers say there are many unknowns about vaccine distribution for workers


After the state announced its plan to vaccinate all health care workers by the end of January, local health providers are saying there are still a lot of questions to be answered.

Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, laid out the timeline for distribution of the first vaccine doses during a COVID-19 briefing Thursday at the Missouri Capitol. Williams said the state plans to have all nursing home residents and staff vaccinated by mid-January.

The state will receive an initial shipment of 51,000 vaccine doses in mid-December, Williams said. Another 64,000 doses of the vaccine manufactured by Pfizer and 105,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine will follow on Dec. 21, Williams said.

The initial doses will go to 21 sites, Williams said. The state will use a partnership with Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy for vaccinating nursing home residents and medical workers.

The Communicable disease coordinator for the Cole County Health Department Chezney Schulte told ABC17 news there are "more questions than answers" at this point about their involvement in distribution, and if they will receive the vaccine.

The Boone County Health Department's assistant director Scott Clardy also said this is "brand new" information to the department.

The MU Health care released a statement saying they have applied to receive the vaccine, and are working on the logistics.

MU Health Care has applied to receive the COVID-19 vaccine through the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, and we’ve established a COVID-19 vaccine committee that is considering the various logistics involved in offering the vaccine to our employees, faculty, learners, patients and community members.  We are committed to safely and effectively providing vaccinations within CDC guidelines.

Eric Maze, MU Health Care

Family Nurse Practitioner at Big Tree Medical Home in Columbia Ashlee Parks said she is excited about the process moving forward. She said it's important for health care workers to receive the vaccine not only to avoid the virus but to set an example.

"If I'm going to be giving and promoting vaccine for patients, I myself need to make I have received it myself because I'm not going to promote it if I haven't received it," Parks said.

Big Tree Medical Group is a smaller health care agency, so Parks said hospital workers will likely be first in line to get the vaccine.

"I think they will be more concerned about hospitals and the nurses and doctors working on the front line taking care of COVID positive patients," Parks said. "But I'm hopeful we'll be right there with them."

She said her group has not had any staffing issues like other places and hospitals across the state, but the vaccine could ease any concern of that.

"It's super important to not be under quarantine and not be symptomatic and spreading it to others," Parks said.

The CDC has warned that there could be side effects to the vaccine that make people feel unwell for a short period of time. Parks said using some strategy on when health workers get it could be wise to avoid more staffing issues.

"We wouldn't all want to get it at the same time just in case a day or two after we're having severe headaches and sick," Parks said. "But I'm willing to take the risk so we can return to life as normal as possible."

Clardy with the Columbia/Boone County Health department commented on the possible side effects, and how that could impact staffing.

"Clearly, that's a concern and something we'll have to monitor.  That being said, a day or two being out for side effects is better than 14 days being out on quarantine," Clardy said.

The vaccine won't be available to the general public for several months, Governor Mike Parson said on Thursday.

Watch ABC17 News at 9 and 10 for the full story.

Boone / Columbia / News / Top Stories / Top Stories

Connor Hirsch

Connor Hirsch reports for the weekday night shows, as well as Sunday nights.


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