COVID vaccines distributed in Greene County

By: 
Steve Chapman

Only available to healthcare workers, long-term care residents, staff
 
Doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are currently in Springfield, ready to be administered.
“The Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine, which was granted emergency use authorization by the FDA on Dec. 11, arrived at Mercy Hospital Springfield on Dec. 14,” said Sean Barnhill, public health information specialist for the Greene County Health Department in Springfield. “The Moderna vaccine—which was granted emergency use authorization by the FDA on Dec. 18, arrived at Cox South Springfield on Dec. 21. Currently, hospitals are distributing vaccine.”
Phased distribution
According to the state’s COVID Vaccine website, part of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website, the vaccine is being distributed in four phases. Currently, the state is in Phase 1A, the first phase of distribution. In this phase, the vaccine is distributed to healthcare workers, long-term care facility residents and staff. Barnhill didn’t say how many doses of each vaccine are currently in the county, but did state the county’s priority is to vaccinate as many people who fall under Phase 1A as quickly as possible.
“With such high demand for the vaccines, there are limitations to how many doses can be ordered right now,” he said. “The goal is to vaccinate frontline health care workers and long-term care residents and staff as quickly as possible so that we can start providing vaccine for other at-risk groups.”
 Barnhill said hospitals, CVS, Walgreens and the Health Department are each working to vaccinate the individuals who fall under Phase 1A.
“Currently, hospitals are vaccinating frontline healthcare workers,” he said. “CVS and Walgreens will administer the vaccine to long-term care residents and staff. The Springfield-Greene County Health Department will be working to assure vaccinating those in Phase 1A that are not affiliated with a healthcare system. More information, a timeline and details for vaccine distribution to other populations is still unknown. We will release more information as soon as we have it.”
No charge to vaccine recipients
There will be no charge for anyone to be vaccinated.
“According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, an individual will not be billed for the COVID-19 vaccine, regardless of their health insurance status,” Barnhill said. “Vaccination providers may charge an administration fee to insurance, Medicaid or Medicare, if applicable in your situation.”
It is important to remember, Barnhill said, that the vaccines are not interchangeable. Anyone whose first dose is of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine should not have the Moderna vaccine as their second dose, and vice-versa. Also, other vaccinations should not be given within 14 days before or after being vaccinated for COVID-19.
Barnhill also said that even after receiving the vaccine, people still need to continue to practice measures currently used to slow the spread of the virus.
“Even though the vaccines offer a shield of protection against the virus,” he said, “an individual should still wear a mask, physically distance and wash their hands often for the best protection.”
Barnhill also suggested that Greene County residents sign up for e-mail updates on the vaccines by taking the FinishStrong417 pledge at www.health.springfieldmo.gov/finishstrong.
For more program information
More information on the COVID-19 virus and vaccines can be found at the Springfield-Greene County website, and at the state’s COVID-19 website, located online at www.covidvaccine.mo.gov.

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Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712
www.lawrencecountyrecord.com

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