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Missouri hopes for triple the doses of virus vaccine soon, announces large-scale vaccination events in St. Louis region

Missouri hopes for triple the doses of virus vaccine soon, announces large-scale vaccination events in St. Louis region

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The St. Louis County Department of Public Health will conduct several large vaccination events. The first is scheduled for Saturday, March 20, at the North County Recreation Complex.

ST. LOUIS — Missouri officials warned health providers on Tuesday that the state is forecasting a dramatic increase in COVID-19 vaccine — from about 120,000 doses last week to more than 500,000 weekly by early April — even as Gov. Mike Parson announced a series of mass vaccination events next week in the region.

Parson said the three events could inoculate as many as 14,000 area residents.

“While supply does not currently allow a vaccine for everyone who wants one and waitlists will continue, this event puts us one step closer to our goal of providing every Missourian the opportunity for a vaccine,” Parson said in a statement.

The events next week start March 25, one at the Family Arena in St. Charles, then March 25 and 26 at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park, followed by March 26 and 27 at the Greensfelder Recreation Complex at Queeny Park, in St. Louis County.

It’s the second series of what Parson is calling “mega” vaccination events in the state. He announced last week an event to be held at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City on Friday and Saturday, where 6,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be administered.

The vaccine forecasts released Tuesday came on a state call with health care providers. State officials said vaccine doses could triple or rise even further the next four weeks, but cautioned that the numbers are early estimates, and may change.

The state expects Johnson & Johnson doses, at 7,000 next week, to rise to 88,500 the following week. Pfizer doses, at about 83,000 now, should rise to 245,000 the week of April 5. And Moderna vaccine will jump from 59,500 to 175,000 that same week.

St. Charles County Public Health Director Demetrius Cianci-Chapman said his department has already seen some increase in supply in recent weeks, and is facing a new challenge: finding enough people to administer the vaccines.

The department has been asking retired and practicing doctors, nurses, EMTs, paramedics, pharmacists and other licensed medical professionals to volunteer their time to help. Students from the Goldfarb School of Nursing and St. Charles Community College have also donated their time.

“I welcome the problem,” Cianci-Chapman said.

The department has been receiving a baseline of 1,300 doses per week recently, and for the past few weeks has gotten even more. That baseline allocation is expected to soon increase to 2,400.

“Public health is about preventing disease, and making communities safer,” Cianci-Chapman said. “We’re happy to be doing this for COVID because we know that eventually this will be a disease that fades into the background.”

Ferguson-Florissant School District vaccinates staff

Christa Williams, a physical education teacher at Walnut Grove Elementary School, receives a Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccination shot on Tuesday, March 16, 2021, from Pfc. Richard Waithra, with the Missouri National Guard at the STEAM Academy at McCluer South-Berkeley high school in Ferguson. The Ferguson-Florissant district has scheduled more than 800 vaccinations, (or about two-thirds) of employees over two days, according to spokesman Kevin Hampton. With the remainder either getting vaccinated under previous opportunities or choosing not to get it. Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

St. Louis County announced on Tuesday that it will hold a mass vaccination event for school employees two days next week, Tuesday and Wednesday, at the Florissant Valley campus of St. Louis Community College. The health department, in coordination with the Missouri National Guard, aims to vaccinate up to 2,000 employees from public, private and parochial schools in the county.

Teachers are eligible for vaccines under the new tier that opened on Monday, Phase 1B Tier 3, which also includes child care, mass transit and agriculture workers, among others. School staff who were already eligible under the previous tier, Phase 1B Tier 2 — which includes residents age 65 and older, and with certain health conditions — will be given preference for the event. Appointments are required.

Missouri reported 376 new confirmed cases and 270 new probable cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday. The seven-day average of new cases increased to 411, according to a Post-Dispatch analysis.

The state also reported 40 more deaths due to the virus.

Missouri reported on Tuesday that nearly 1.2 million people have received a first dose of vaccine, or 19.5% of the population. And of those, 646,978 have received a second dose.

The St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force reported 25 new COVID-19 patients admitted to hospitals in the area, down from 27 the day before. The task force reported a total of 227 virus patients across area BJC HealthCare, Mercy, SSM Health and St. Luke’s Hospital facilities — down from 233 the day before. Task force data lags two days.

Area residents interested in volunteering to help at a vaccine event in St. Charles County can fill out an online application at: www.sccmo.org/MRC

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