SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– On Clay Goddard’s last day as a health director, he warned how dangerous politicizing the COVID-19 pandemic has become.
“This is not a glue, this is not a cold, it’s a dangerous disease that has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans,” said Goddard. “It’s important that we finish this race strong.”
Goddard also warned of the low supply of COVID-19 vaccines as the state of Missouri gets closer to allowing groups in Phase 1B-Tier 3 to get the vaccine.
“We still have supply issues,” said Goddard. “I guess to put it succinctly for the community, prepared to be disappointed because until those supply issues are rectified, we’re going to have to continue vaccinating those who are in line now.”
Currently, Greene County’s COVID-19 dashboard shows less than 7% of residents have received both doses of the vaccine.
“The good news is those supplies are increasing every week,” stated Goddard. “For example, we’re giving 2,000 doses over the course of two days. We’re getting, I believe, almost 3,000 next week as a public health department. Also, with the J&J product likely to get emergency use authorization this thing will fix itself. We just have to be patient and get there together as a community.”
Goddard is confident the issue will fix itself as the Johnson and Johnson vaccines are expected to receive emergency use authorization from the FDA this weekend. Goddard stressed the need to continue wearing masks even though Joplin, Missouri. will allow its public mask mandate to expire on Sunday, Feb. 28. Greene County’s mask mandate is set to expire Friday, April 9.
“I am urging community leaders to keep the mask mandate in place,” said Goddard. “The first priority should be reopening the economy, and we can navigate that more quickly if we’re not transmitting disease, so it would be my counsel to elected officials to keep that in place. I am confident that’s the right path.”
Goddard will be the senior director for the Missouri Foundation for Health, which is based in St. Louis, Missouri.