The acting Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) and State Epidemiologist signed the standing order for PfizerBioNTech COVID-19 vaccine administration for individuals 12 to 15 years in the state of Missouri.
The decision was made following the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommendation to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that the Pfizer vaccine be made available children 12- to 15-years-old .
In Missouri, 313,000 additional individuals will now be able to receive a vaccination.
Vaccinations for those 12 years and older are available from any provider offering the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
In most situations, a parent or guardian must be present for an individual under the age of 18 to receive the vaccine.
In clinical trials, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was found to be 100% effective in preventing COVID-19 among participants ages 12-15. The side effects in adolescents were similar with those reported in clinical trial participants 16 years of age and older and included pain at the injection site, tiredness, headache, chills, muscle and joint pain, and fever.
Boone County reports over 70,000 residents have completed their coronavirus vaccination
The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services is reporting seven new COVID-19 cases.
There are currently 67 active cases in the county.
The health department is reporting one Boone County resident is in the hospital due to the coronavirus.
The Missouri coronavirus vaccine dashboard reports that 81,705 residents have received their first dose in Boone County and 70,020 Boone County residents have completed their vaccine doses.
Boone County has the largest percentage of people in Mid-Missouri that have received at least one dose of the vaccine with 45.3%. The second closest in the state is St. Louis County with 41.6%.
Boone County is now first in the state with a reported 38.8% of residents that have completed their coronavirus vaccine doses. Atchison County is second in the state with 35.3% of residents have completed the doses for vaccination.
Cole County has the second-highest first vaccination rate in Mid-Missouri with 36.6%. Montgomery County is third with 32.8%.
Missouri lawmakers OK limits on local pandemic restrictions
Missouri lawmakers have passed legislation seeking to limit local public health orders that have imposed restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic.
The bill given final approval Wednesday would limit orders restricting businesses, churches, schools or gatherings to 30 days, unless extended by the local governing body. The bill was prompted by outrage over long-lasting restrictions in St. Louis County and some other places such as Boone County. St. Louis County relaxed some restrictions but still requires social distancing and face masks inside businesses. Boone County's health order expired Wednesday.
Lawmakers also are nearing final approval on legislation that would let businesses affected by restrictions seek property tax breaks.
-- The Associated Press
Columbia College to return to full-time, in-person classes
Columbia College says it will bring back full-time, in-person classes in the fall after using a hybrid model this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The private college, which has campuses in several states in addition to its Columbia campus, said in a news release that coronavirus precautions put in place this school year were "highly effective in limiting the spread of the virus." Those measures included mask requirements, social distancing and allowing students to take classes virtually that would normally be in-person.
Masks will still be worn in classrooms and social distancing will be in effect in the fall, the release says.
Columbia College won't require vaccinations for students and staff but is encouraging them to get the shot.
The college said it wants employees who are continuing to work remotely to return to campus by Aug. 9.
Travel through Columbia airport up 800% from last year
The Columbia Regional Airport (COU) recorded the most travelers in the month of April since March of 2020.
According to the airport's passenger load data, the number of travelers at COU was up 801.1% in April compared to the same month in 2020.
COU recorded a total of 9,416 passengers flying in and out of the airport last month, with nearly equal numbers of enplanements and deplanements. This is up from 1,045 passengers in April 2020, shortly after the pandemic hit the United States.
Though the percent of travelers saw a massive increase, air travel out of Columbia was still lower than pre-pandemic levels. In 2019, the monthly average of passengers was 22,133.
Across the nation, the Transportation Security Administration has reported increased travel as more Americans are vaccinated against COVID-19. The agency reported screening more than 1.3 million passengers Tuesday, up from 163,205 on the same day in 2020.
Missouri records eight additional deaths due to COVID-19
According to data posted on the state COVID-19 dashboard Wednesday, eight more Missourians died from COVID-19, pushing the total number of pandemic-related deaths in the state to 8,843.
Despite the increase, the seven-day positivity rate of coronavirus cases actually continued its downward trend, sitting at 4.3% Wednesday morning.
Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services recorded 329 additional cases of the virus confirmed through PCR testing, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 506,257 positive cases.
State health officials also added 193 new probable cases to the dashboard. The total number of probable cases found through antigen testing increased to 85,173.
Missouri's vaccination rates in every category increased by less than half of a percent from Tuesday's data. Out of the state's total population, 38.9% of residents have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine and 31.8% are fully vaccinated.