CENTRALIA, MO (KMIZ)
The Columbia/Boone Public Health and Human Services Department hosted its first walk-in only vaccination clinic for rural areas Wednesday.
The health department, in partnership with the Missouri National Guard, vaccinated 95 people at its walk-in clinic in Centralia Wednesday.
Ashton Day, the health educator for Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services, says this is the department's first time doing a strictly walk-in only clinic. It hopes that the relaxed restrictions in order to get a vaccine dose will provide more convenience and encourage residents to come out and get vaccinated.
“Another thing that we’re doing with this clinic for the first time is having it be walk-in only, no appointment no pre-registration was needed before so people can really just pop in on their way home from work or school and go ahead and get vaccinated,” said Day.
The department has scheduled clinics throughout rural areas within the community in efforts to make the vaccine accessible to everyone. Majority of Boone County's residents that have been vaccinated live in Columbia, the other cities in the county show low vaccination numbers when compared. As reports show, about 88.2% of the county's vaccinated population are Columbia residents, leaving the remaining population as cities in the count with low vaccine numbers.
The department has scheduled 3 different walk-in only clinics in rural areas, to provide accessibility to all Boone County residents. The next clinic is scheduled for Thursday at Southern Boone County High School in Ashland, from 3:30 to 6:30 pm. Tuesday, another clinic will be held at Sturgeon Youth Center from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Day, says the department is using leftover Pfizer vaccine doses from its clinic last week at the Columbia Mall. At this particular clinic, Day says there is no limit to the number of vaccines they can complete necessarily because the department has such a high supply due to the decline in demand.
“We really don’t have a limit necessarily of how much we can do today just because we have so much of it," said Day.
Within the first hour of the clinic, over 50 residents were in attendance receiving their first vaccine dose. Day says the department hopes to see an increase in teens getting vaccinated, as these clinics will use the Pfizer vaccine, which anyone 16 and older can receive.
In efforts to make the vaccine more accessible to teenagers, the health department has partnered with Columbia Public Schools to provide vaccine clinics for high school students who are eligible. Its first clinic is Tuesday at Battle High School from 9 a.m. to noon.
“We’re working with CPS to do those clinics and all the schools helped facilitate and promote it amongst their students and families. So we’re hoping to get more high schoolers in today. One of the clinics we’re doing later this week in Ashland they’re actually doing a time earlier in the afternoon for just their students because they had so much interest and then doing it for the community as a whole later on that day," said Day.
Day says the department isn't sure how many people to expect at this clinic due to it being walk-in only, but the department wants to do its best in ensuring the vaccine has been made accessible to everyone who wants the shot.
“We’re kind of in the mindset if one more person get’s vaccinated who might not already gotten it, in a different means then we’ve done our job," said Day.
As of Wednesday, Boone county has administered 135,946 vaccine doses. 58,937 Boone County residents have completed the vaccination process, equating to 32.7% of the county's population.
The state has administered 3,808,048 vaccine doses as of Wednesday, only 37.1% of Missouri's population has initiated the vaccination process. 1,652,184 Missourians have already completed the vaccination process.