Organizers Say Springfield COVID-19 Vaccine 'Mega Event' Tops 6,000, Breaking State Record
Rachael Ingram, a cellular and molecular biology major at Missouri State University, fielded questions outside. Members of the Missouri National Guard directed traffic. Lauren Stevens, a nursing student, told attendees to roll up their sleeves as she readied a syringe.
Together, they helped comprise a team that broke a state record for administering the most COVID-19 vaccines in a one-day event, according to a Tweet from the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.
Around 4:00 p.m. Friday, the health department tweeted, “4,000 people have been vaccinated TODAY alone at the Mega Vaccine event. This is the most people that have been vaccinated in a single day statewide!” The previous single day record of 3,999 was set in St. Charles County.
The health department later posted a final, two-day tally of 6,131 people vaccinated to its Facebook page, confirming Friday's total was 4,385.
Stevens, who hopes to work in a hospital setting after graduating, said the historical significance of inoculating her neighbors during a deadly pandemic was not lost on her.
“I think they’re going to put pictures about the COVID outbreak in textbooks. And we might be included in those, which is incredible,” Stevens said.
On Friday, the state of Missouri extended vaccine eligibility to all Missourians ages 16 and older. The vaccine “mega-event” at MSU was for Missouri residents ages 18 and older.
Multiple people leaving the site said the entire process took about 25 to 30 minutes.
Captain Jeremy Idleman said the Missouri National Guard was assisting with a wide range of duties, including data entry, vaccinating, and logistics.
“We’ve got a steady traffic flow coming in, a lot more people than yesterday, which is great to see,” Ideleman said mid-morning Friday.
The vaccine administered at the event is the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which requires only one dose.
Organizers said they were prepared to vaccine at up to 10,000 people. The event ran through 5:00 p.m.
Originally, event organizers planned to require an appointment for the event. But on Wednesday, they announced walk-ins would also be welcome.
“We had fewer people registered, so we decided to open it up so people could walk in, in case registration was something that would prevent them from coming,” said Andrea Mostyn, a spokeswoman for Missouri State University.
Praise Santos moved to Republic, Missouri from Micronesia in the Western Pacific region shortly before the pandemic began. She said she decided to attend the vaccination event Friday so she can get back to meeting her new neighbors and enjoying the Ozarks region she now calls home.
“We decided whenever it’s available, we’ll do it. I didn’t even feel [the shot],” she said.
Tim Nelson, who lives just south of campus, said he was impressed by the organization of the event.
“They have it figured out. They’re working as a team and they’ve figured it out,” he said, adding that the registration and vaccination process was quick and easy.
Health officials are keeping a close eye on the percentage of population vaccinated since it is one of three key data points in determining how and when COVID-19 restrictions may be lifted.
The event was orchestrated through a collaboration of community organizations, including:
• City Utilities
• Drury University
• Evangel University
• Greene County Office of Emergency Management
• Ozarks Technical Community College
• Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
• Missouri Disaster Medical Assistance Team
• Missouri National Guard
• Missouri State University
• Springfield-Greene County Health Department
• Springfield Public Schools