COLUMBIA Mo. (KMIZ)
Boone County is among the leaders in percentage of people getting the coronavirus vaccine as the state prepares to open shot eligibility to all Missourians.
Boone County has the second-highest vaccination initiation rate at 32.8% among the 117 local public health agencies in the state, with 59,128 coronavirus vaccinations given out.
The gap is wide between Boone and some other Mid-Missouri counties. Cole County is second in the area with 28.4% of its population getting at least one dose so far. Miller and Randolph counties, however, are yet to reach 20%, according to data available Monday morning on the state's COVID-19 dashboard.
The overall state rate is 27.9%.
Boone County's rising vaccination rate coincides with a falling new case rate. The five-day average of new daily cases hit single digits late last week, according to the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services dashboard. The department reported 46 active COVID-19 cases Monday morning.
Cole County has opened up vaccination clinics to all eligible Missourians, not just those who live in Cole County.
The lowering case numbers and rising vaccination totals were major motivators for the decision to send Columbia Public Schools students back Monday to classes five days each week. It's the first time since last spring that students are going to school all five days.
Missouri is set to open up Phase 3 of its vaccination plan on Friday. This phase is open to all adults which will extend vaccine eligibility to an estimated 1.1 million Missourians.
Dr. Blount, the Chief Medical Officer at Boone Health said it is important for people to go out and sign up to get vaccinated as soon as possible.
"What I do emphasize is if you are in a previous phase and you haven't been vaccinated, get in there and sign up because there is about to be a lot more people getting ready to sign up," Blount said.
Local health departments are preparing for vaccine eligibility to expand in Mid-Missouri.
The Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services will continue doing outreach clinics with their partners as Missouri enters Phase 3.
The outreach clinics help to make vaccines more accessible to various people in the community and break down any barriers people may have stopping them from getting the vaccine.
Laura Morris, a MU Health and Family Physician said Missouri's supply of vaccinations will increase as we enter Phase three.
"We are moving from a stage of vaccination where the demand was high and the supplies was low, to a place where our supply has picked up and now we need to make sure we keep the demand. Every single adult Missourian needs to get vaccinated," Morris said.
So far about 1.7 million Missourians have started their vaccination process. About 6 million people live in Missouri.