SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Taney County Health Department is gearing up to vaccinate a large group of its residents that fall under Phase 1B of Missouri’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan.
Health Director Lisa Marshall says right now, the focus is still on Phase 1A, which includes all healthcare workers and long-term care facility staff and residents.
The department is in the process of expanding the pool of workers, to vaccinate staff at private doctor’s offices and clinics around the county.
“We’ve reached out, we’ve asked about how many vaccines they think they’re going to need,” said Marshall. “We’ve asked them to get a number of how many and their staff would want those, so we’ve started that process of identifying how many 1A folks are not affiliated with the healthcare systems and who all would need to be coordinated with someone who does have vaccines.”
Marshall says the government is only allowing “approved vaccinators,” such as the Taney County Health Department itself, to administer the doses.
This means rather than sending small batches of doses to each healthcare facility, clinic staff will need be receiving their doses at pre-approved locations.
“It kind of comes down to whoever has the resources first,” said Marshall. “We’ll get them plugged in to where they need to go.”
Marshall says CVS and Walgreens are taking on inoculations at long-term care facilities in the county.
Once Missouri is ready to move onto Phase 1B of the state’s vaccination plan, Marshall says they will be ready to start vaccinating large groups of prioritized residents.
Governor Mike Parson has stated Missouri expects to receive enough supply of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to be able to complete Phase 1A by the end of January.
Marshall says she anticipates a majority of Taney County residents to fall somewhere in the Phase 1B groups.
Phase 1B includes:
- First responders
- Childcare staff and teachers
- Water, Wastewater, and Energy workers
- Critical manufacturing staff
- Workers in the food and agricultural industries
“It’s a monumental feat and basically we feel like a majority of our community, our county is going to fall into Phase 1B, so we’re really anticipating that’s where the bulk of our heavy lifting will come in and that’s where the bulk of our residents are going to get vaccinated,” said Marshall.
She says the department is still waiting to find out how the state will sub-prioritizes those groups, which is expected later this week.
The Taney Could Health Department says it is preparing to send out a countywide survey for residents interested in the getting the vaccine to fill out.
Marshall says the process will make it easier for them to contact sub-categories, once the first groups selected to receive vaccines in Phase 1B are established by the state.
“Later this week we’re going to launch a survey link on our website and on social media that people can submit their name, their demographic information, their occupation or their risk level that would put them in one of those categories and then that way, as soon as we find out what that priority ranking looks like, we can filter through our information and say okay all of these folks are in these groups so let’s send them a mass email, or email blast, and let them know here’s your link to register,” said Marshall.
For those anxiously waiting to know when their spot in line will be, Marshall says the best thing to do is consistently check the Taney County Health Department’s website and social media pages.
The department also compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help answer and concerns residents may have about the local vaccine rollout.