Missouri National Guard colonel details what goes into preparing a mega vaccination event

COVID Vaccine Updates

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- The Missouri National Guard is preparing to vaccinate up to 10,000 people at a mega vaccination event this Thursday and Friday in Springfield.

Colonel Dr. Russell Kohl is heading the event for the National Guard, which will take place at Hammons Student Center on Missouri State University’s campus.

“It will be a busy, busy place, but the good thing about it is the guard has done over 200 of these so far, so you will see lots of signage that will point you in the right direction to get you to the Student Center and get you through the process.”

Dr. Russell says despite plans to vaccinate 5,000 people each day of the event, social distancing will still be a priority, and masks will be required.

Since late January, National Guard teams have been holding mass vaccination clinics across the state, doing three to five events per week. Dr. Russell says teams have been using the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at various events for about a month.

“If we use one of the other vaccines, that means a month later we have to come back and get those same 10,000 people to get a second dose. This way, if we come back in a month, if that’s something that Greene County decides that they want, at the end of the deal will have 20,000 Missourians vaccinated as opposed to just 10,000.”

The National Guard is expecting to get each individual checked in and vaccinated in under an hour. Dr. Russell says many will likely be in and out in less than 30 minutes.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department announced on April 2, the first confirmed case of a COVID-19 variant was found in Greene County.

Dr. Russell says evidence of the variant in southwest Missouri is why this vaccination event comes at an ideal time.

“We know that the J&J vaccine works against that particular variant. We know that that variant particularly affects younger folks, is easier spread, and certainly has worse disease. If you take those things and add them together where we’re at the point in time where the state of Missouri is opening it up to everyone, and we’re just far enough from spring break that those folks who perhaps did not follow the appropriate procedures would be able to start spreading it back at the campus. So, this is really an ideal time, particularly for our younger population, to be able to get that one and done vaccine, spend an hour and make a difference for the rest of your life.”

There are still thousands of appointments available for the mega vaccination event.

You’re encouraged to sign up first on the Missouri Vaccine Navigator and use the ID number you’re given to schedule an appointment at 417vaccine.com.

Make sure to have your ID number ready when you arrive for your appointment.

Dr. Russell says walk-in appointments will also be available, but it may take you longer to get vaccinated.

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