Some Greene County Nursing Homes Still Waiting For COVID-19 Vaccine
Missouri Governor Mike Parson announced Thursday the state is moving on to Phase 1B of the vaccine rollout, which includes first responders, residents 65 or older, and people with certain medical conditions. But KSMU has learned that there are still some nursing homes in Greene County that have not yet received the vaccine — and long term care facilities were in the top priority category, Phase 1A.
KSMU reached out to all 41 licensed long-term care facilities in Greene County to ask whether they’ve been able to receive and administer the vaccine to all willing residents and staff.
Of the 13 Greene County nursing homes and assisted living facilities we heard back from this week, seven had not yet received their first dose from CVS or Walgreens, which are partners in the federal distribution program.
As of this week, some facility administrators, like Lakewood Assisted Living’s Alecia Robinson, estimated nearly 100% of its residents had been vaccinated. Four others, including Quality Residential Care’s Kathy McCrary, said they haven't even been given a date by pharmacy partners for when their facilities will get their first doses.
Those that had received vaccines reported 80 to 100% of residents had been administered the vaccine. Staff vaccination rates were lower, administrators said. Some, like Ravenwood Assisted Living, reported having as low as 30% staff participation in the vaccine. In Woodland Manor long-term care, some residents’ families opted out of giving them the vaccine, according to administrator Brenda Alexander.
There are vaccine clinics scheduled through the week and this weekend for many of the county's long-term care facilities.
Who is in Phase 1B?
Parson said Phase 1B - Tier 1 was activated Thursday; that tier focuses on law enforcement, fire service, public health workers and others.
A second tier of individuals, those in Phase 1B - Tier 2 category, become eligible for the vaccine Monday, January 18. That second tier includes Missourians 65 and older and adults with health conditions known to cause COVID-19 complications. Those medical conditions include cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, or intellectual and/or developmental disabilities such as Down Syndrome, heart conditions, a weakened immune system due to organ transplant, severe obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, or Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, according to a press release from Parson's office.
Parson's office acknoweldged that even though the state is activating the first two tiers of Phase 1B now, there is not enough supply available to administer those vaccines.
The governor's office said individuals in Phase 1A and Phase 1B-Tier 1 should work through their employers or associations to access the vaccine. Individuals in Phase 1B-Tier 2 are advised to contact their local pharmacy or health care provider. They may also visit www.MOStopsCovid.com to learn when the vaccine may be available in your location.
Greene County health officials: we don't have the supply yet
Even though the governor’s office has approved vaccinations for certain high-risk individuals starting Monday, the Springfield-Greene County Health Department says vaccine doses are not yet available locally for these Phase 1B individuals.
The health department said in a news release Thursday that Vaccine doses are “extremely limited across the region” and the health department is working to get more.
The Springfield-Greene County Health Department said there is also no way for those high-risk category adults in Phase 1B to sign up for a vaccine at this time.
Instead, officials encourage residents to sign up for alerts through email, text messages or automated phone calls. You can sign up for those alerts by going to health.springfieldmo.gov/FinishStrong.