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Hundreds of appointments available at Cole County coronavirus vaccination site


The permanent Cole County coronavirus vaccination site officially opened on Monday at the Capital Mall and walk-ins are welcome.

According to health officials from the site, about 300 appointments were filled for the day by about 9:30 a.m. Monday and walk-ins are being accepted until 2 p.m. About 700 spots remained unfilled.

This week the site is giving out the Pfizer vaccine, which is approved for anyone at least 16 years old.

Kristi Campbell, the director of the Cole County Health Department, said the site is being run by a partnership between multiple health organizations. Capital Region Medical Center, the Community Health Center of Central Missouri, Jefferson City Medical Group and SSM St. Mary's Hospital are working with the health department and National Guard to staff the site.

According to one National Guard member, 21 Guard members are helping to greet patients and help get them registered at the vaccination location on Monday.

The site plans to give out up to 1,000 vaccines each day, Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Those 4,000 doses are on top of additional vaccination events on Friday or Saturday put on by the medical organizations running the site.

The state on Friday opened eligibility up to anyone old enough to get a shot. In addition to clinics and permanent vaccination sites, vaccines are also available at local and chain pharmacies as supply begins to outpace demand.

Individuals are able to sign up through the state's vaccinator website or walk in to get vaccinated.

Sabient Kent, a sophomore at the University of Missouri and Boone County resident, traveled to Jefferson City to get vaccinated Monday.

"I'd like life to return to normal," Kent said. "I'm a college student and I think the faster people like me [who] have to live in larger communities get vaccinated, the faster we can have classes in-person and wear masks a little bit less."

Kent also said he'd like to be able to visit his parents and feel safe.

Capital Region Chief Medical Officer Randall Haight said he hopes having one main site will make getting the shot less confusing for Cole County residents.

"When we heard that everyone would be available to be vaccinated, we got our group that had been meeting to go over what the best mode to do that [would be]," Haight said. "We felt like having one place would be awesome."

He said Capital Regional Medical Center hosted an event at the space on Saturday where more than 600 people were vaccinated, including individuals who were 16 years old. Pfizer's vaccine is authorized for use in people age 16 and older, while the vaccines made by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are authorized for use in people 18 years old or older.

Thomas Robbins, medical director for Jefferson City Medical Group, said even though there are some potential side effects that come along with getting the coronavirus vaccine, he believes the risk is greater to not get vaccinated.

"The fact that the illness itself that you could wind up with is so much more serious than the side effects the vaccine ... [I] absolutely recommend getting the vaccine," Robbins said. "And very, very few people have been hospitalized as a result of complications."

Robbins said individuals can expect some side effects of the vaccine to include injection site soreness, fever, muscle aches and flu-like symptoms.

According to the state dashboard, Cole County has the ninth highest vaccination rate among Missouri jurisdictions, with 30.1% of the population receiving at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Boone County is currently the most-vaccinated jurisdiction within the state with 38.2% of the population receiving at least one dose of the vaccine.

Pulaski is the least-vaccinated jurisdiction in the state with 9.2% of the population receiving at least one dose of the vaccine.

Article Topic Follows: Jefferson City

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Meghan Drakas

Meghan joined ABC 17 News in January 2021.
The Penn State grad is from the Philadelphia suburbs where she interned with several local TV stations.


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