JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
Health leaders in Cole County are currently planning another mass vaccination clinic later in March, with the primary focus on educators in Cole County.
The director of the Cole County Health Department Kristi Campbell confirmed that leaders are tentatively putting together an event for Cole County teachers that wish to be vaccinated.
This comes days after Governor Mike Parson announced Missouri will be moving in Tier 3 of the vaccination process on March 15, which includes teachers and other critical workers.
Campbell said health care providers in the area have been part of the planning process.
Vice President of Medical Affairs for SSM Health St. Mary's Dr. Lenora Adams said leaders got word late on Monday that there would likely be enough vaccine in the area for the event.
"We were worried about that, but just in the past hour, we feel confident that we have the vaccine," Adams said.
Adams said Region F was approved for 3 more mass vaccination clinics, saying one of those will likely be for employees of schools in Cole County. About 1,600 teachers and staff of schools have said they are interested in getting the vaccine when available to them, she said.
A potential date and location are set, but those could change. Adams and other health leaders are hopeful to get the event on the books less than 7 days after March 15.
"Doing a mass vaccination event takes a tremendous about of resources," Adams said. "I just have to recognize the contributions of all the health care entities in town who've all come together to do this as well as the many volunteers."
Adams wasn't aware at this point what vaccine will be used at this event.
The principal of Helias Catholic High School Kenya Fuemmeler said leaders from all of the schools in Cole County have been meeting weekly during the pandemic, and lately discussions have been about vaccine distribution.
"It's a lot of coordination behind the scenes, but I think we're going to have a really good plan in place," Fuemmeler said.
One part of the coordination for schools is making sure teachers are able to get out of the classroom for at least 30 minutes for the vaccination process.
Fuemmeler said she can only speak for Helias, saying the school will be called off on the day of the mass clinic, and respective second dose event if the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is not used.
"All of us are working on very different sized boats," Fuemmeler said. "We're trying to coordinate an effort where it works best for everyone... I suspect that we will have really good game plan going in to minimize loss of instruction time for students, but also to prioritize teacher health."
ABC17 News reached out to JC Schools for more about its plan, but information was not immediately available.
Spokesman for the Missouri State Teachers Association Todd Fuller said he hopes other areas follow the lead of Cole County and give teachers an opportunity to get vaccinated all at once.
"If you have that basic level of safety, then you can spend time and your attention on the most important part of the day, which is educating children," Fuller said.
Watch ABC17 News at 9 and 10 for the full story.