Hospitals and health departments in the state have reported immunizing their employees and front line workers with a COVID-19 vaccine.
Grundy County Health Department Administrator Elizabeth Gibson reports no doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are yet available at the health department for its employees. The health department is working on getting a vaccine for individuals eligible to receive it in the first phase of the state’s plan. The Missouri Stronger Together website reports those individuals include long-term care facility residents and staff and patient-facing health care workers. That group includes pharmacy workers, dentists, eye doctors, and home health workers. She does not know when the health department will receive doses for the first phase. The state determines where doses are sent.
Gibson explains some health departments in other counties may be responsible for immunizing workers at the hospital, but that is not the case in Grundy County. In some counties, the hospital and health department are going together to get a vaccine. She notes 900 doses is currently the smallest amount of COVID-19 vaccine that can be ordered from the state. The Grundy County Health Department will have to “band together” with other health departments or organizations to receive a vaccine. The health department has requested a small amount for individuals in the first phase.
Gibson says the state will decide when the next group of individuals can be immunized. The next group includes high-risk individuals, individuals at least 65 years old, first responders, and essential workers.
The next group after that includes populations at an increased risk, such as prisoners and the homeless, with all Missouri residents in the final phase.
Gibson says it is unknown when the state will switch groups or when doses will be available to the public. The health department has regular calls with the state on the pandemic, but the timeline is unknown. The health department does not currently have a waiting list for Grundy County residents to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.