As most are aware, a vaccine from Pfizer and a vaccine from Moderna have been approved for administration in the fight against Covid-19. Currently, there is a very limited supply of these two Covid-19 vaccines. Demand exceeds the supply; this shortage is being experienced across the country. The Joplin area has received limited shipments of vaccine that are only allowed to be used in Long Term Care Facilities and patient facing health care workers. The Joplin Health Department has completed the necessary paperwork but has not yet received any vaccine. Ryan Talken, Director of the Health Department, anticipates they will in the future.
The vaccination schedule has been determined by the State of Missouri, and outlines which providers receive the vaccine and which groups are eligible to be vaccinated. Currently vaccine is being offered to the people in group 1A which includes long term care facilities and patient facing medical workers.
After this 1A group has been offered vaccine, it will be made available to the next eligible group (1B) which includes persons 65 and older, high risk individuals aged 18 to 64, and essential workers. It is anticipated that the vaccine will still be in short supply once it is made available to this group of individuals in 1B. It is likely that prioritization within this category will occur. The State of Missouri will determine when we move from the category of 1A which we are currently working in, to the next category known as 1B. The timing of this shift to the next group will depend upon the supply of vaccine and how quickly it can be administered. Talken understands that citizens are anxious and curious when the vaccine will be available.
“We have received numerous calls from individuals wanting to receive the vaccine,” he said. “Like you, we are eager to begin responding to this ongoing crisis caused by Covid-19. Our department, along with our community partners, are coordinating efforts to ensure that the vaccine can be delivered as efficiently as possible once it becomes available.”
Talken reminds everyone to watch for public announcements that will provide more details when the vaccine is available. Information will be sent through the local news media, social media sites of the Joplin Health Department and the City of Joplin as well as their websites.
The Joplin Health Department continues to work with residents in our community and reminds everyone about the importance of self-care actions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including:
- Wear a face covering in public places.
- Practice social distancing of 6 feet or more between you and others.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol can be used if soap and water are not available.
- Get a flu shot.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in homes, offices and other workplaces by using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
For more information the public is encouraged to call the City of Joplin Health Department at 417-623-6122 or visit the State of Missouri Covid-19 vaccination website MoStopsCovid.com .