Next first-dose vaccine clinic here is March 26: 569 people vaccinated here Feb. 23, including some attending a basketball game
(Story edited with updated information)
Seven people who attended the Lady Bulldogs’ basketball game Feb. 23 at Gainesville High School got a little something extra besides the thrill of seeing the Gainesville and Bakersfield girls go head-to-head on the court. They also got an unplanned covid-19 vaccination.
The game that Tuesday night followed a drive-thru covid-19 mass-vaccination clinic that was held earlier that day in the parking lot of the nearby Gainesville Church of Christ. The clinic was hosted by the Ozark County Health Department and the Missouri National Guard.
Around 3 p.m., after all who had registered for the clinic had been vaccinated, several doses of the vaccine remained.
“We knew school was fixing to get out,” said OCHD administrator Rhonda Suter. So she notified the school that anyone could come who wanted to be vaccinated. Several teachers and faculty members responded, said Gainesville superintendent Justin Gilmore.
But some unused doses still remained. So, that evening, two OCHD nurses went to the high school and offered the shots to folks as they came in for the ball game. Seven people were vaccinated at the game, Suter said, adding that some doses were still left over and had to be disposed of.
A total of 569 vaccinations were administered that day, including the seven that night at the ballgame. “A few” people called the health department afterward to report that they’d had a headache, fever or achiness after the shot, but no serious reactions were reported to the OCHD staff, Suter said.
The drive-thru vaccination clinic was praised by several participants who commented on how well organized it was and how quickly the shots were given. One participant, Donna Ownes Lemons said in a Facebook post, “It was a wonderful experience. We were in and out faster than McDonalds.”
Suter credited the success of the clinic to her staff, the National Guard and the small army of 16-18 volunteer nurses who turned out to “give shots and draw up vaccine” (into the syringes).
The first of two required vaccinations was given at the Feb. 23 drive-thru clinic. For the second “booster” shot, “we’ll all be out there again March 23,” Suter said. Last week’s participants were given a card directing them to return to the Church of Christ parking lot for their second shot on Tuesday, March 23, at the same time as their first-shot appointment on Feb. 23.
Call OCHD to sign up for next vaccination clinic
Meanwhile, OCHD is taking appointments for two more vaccination events. Those who received their first vaccination at the OCHD office in mid-February will be able to receive their second injection on Friday, March 12.
Those needing their first shot of the covid-19 vaccine can make an appointment for the next drive-thru clinic, which again will be held in the Gainesville Church of Christ parking lot, on Highway 160 about a mile east of the Gainesville square, on Friday, March 26. (See below for a list of the new categories, including teachers, who will be eligible for the shot by March 26.)
Those wanting either their second covid-19 vaccination on March 12 or March 23, or their first covid-19 vaccination at the March 26 drive-thru clinic should call OCHD at 417-679-3334 to schedule an appointment.
Suter said these vaccination events are being managed locally, so appointments are available only by calling the OCHD office; sign-up for these events is not available through the state Missouri Covid Vaccine Navigator website.
Teachers, child-care providers, grocery store employees, farmers will be eligible for March 26 clinic
In Missouri, vaccinations are being administered to residents who qualify in phases that are specified by the state. Currently, Missouri is in Phase 1B-Tier 2, which means residents age 65 or older, healthcare workers and residents age 18-64 with chronic health problems are currently eligible for the vaccine.
However, Gov. Mike Parson announced last week that on March 15, Missourians in Phase 1B - Tier 3 will be eligible to receive the vaccine. This tier includes K-12 educators and school employees; child care providers; grocery store employees; and workers involved in energy, food, agriculture and other critical infrastructure, among others. For the complete list of categories in each phase and tier, visit covidvaccine.mo.gov.
Suter said those in Phase 1B-Tier 3 may call the health department now to schedule an appointment during the March 26 drive-thru clinic.
Vaccinations at Ozarks Healthcare
(formerly Ozarks Medical Center)
First and second doses of the Moderna covid-19 vaccine are being administered from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today (March 3) at the Ozarks Healthcare Parkway Center, Willard Hunter Classroom, in West Plains. Registration and appointments for the OH shots are only available through the online Missouri Covid Vaccine Navigator, accessible either through Ozarks Healthcare’s website at www.ozarkshealthcare.com or directly at www.covidvaccine.mo.gov. Those without internet capability may call the Navigator Hotline at 877-435-8411.
Today from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Ozarks Healthcare Gainesville Clinic, second doses of the Moderna vaccine will be administered to those who received their initial dose on Feb. 4 or earlier.