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KSMU is dedicated to broadcasting critically important information as our community experiences the COVID-19 pandemic. Below, you'll find our ongoing coverage.

CoxHealth, Mercy To Receive More COVID-19 Vaccines As Part Of State's Hospital Prioritization

Michele Skalicky

CoxHealth and Mercy Springfield will begin giving out more COVID-19 vaccinations after the state agreed to prioritize hospitals in its vaccine distribution model.  Missouri’s interagency vaccine planning team chose hospitals in all regions of the state to receive just over half of the state’s weekly vaccine allocation through the month of February, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

CoxHealth president and CEO Steve Edwards said his health system is expected to receive 5700 vaccines this week to give out in two clinics, which are expected to be held on Thursday and Saturday at the Meyer Center.

"I believe the hospitals can do this like no other entity because it's what we do," he said.  "We think we can do 8,000 vaccines a day.  We don't have to worry about that because we don't have that much, but, as amount grows, we'll be prepared to administer it very quickly."

Cox has set up a system that prioritizes certain people based on risk factors.  The health system will give out vaccines first to anyone 80 and over with a BMI greater than 40 and next to those at least 80-years-old with chronic lung disease or diabetes.  Not everyone is doing it that way, according to Edwards.

"Our physicians have designed our process based on the ethic that we save lives first," he said.

You can sign up to receive a vaccine from Cox and view the health system’s staged approach for vaccinations at  Edwards said current patients at CoxHealth will be notified when they qualify for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Cox plans to hold clinics every other week, alternating with Mercy.

Governor Mike Parson said in a statement, "our partnership with the selected hospitals will help provide the consistency needed for effective planning of high-volume vaccine clinics to occur at the local level."

The president and CEO of the Missouri Hospital Association, Herb Kuhn said in the statement that the hospitals included in the first phase of the plan "were selected for their ability to rapidly begin community vaccination efforts on a large scale."

The current plan commits about 53 percent of weekly COVID-19 allocations by the state to selected hospitals.  Approximately 23 percent will be devoted to regional mass vaccination events, which will be held in partnership with local vaccine implementaion teams and the Missouri National Guard.  Eight percent will be allocated to local public health agencies and eight percent will go to federally qualified health centers.  The rest will go to any other enrolled providers who request vaccines.

Michele Skalicky has worked at KSMU since the station occupied the old white house at National and Grand. She enjoys working on both the announcing side and in news and has been the recipient of statewide and national awards for news reporting. She likes to tell stories that make a difference. Michele enjoys outdoor activities, including hiking, camping and leisurely kayaking.