Gough Gives Updates for Dispersing COVID-19 Vaccine

January 26, 2021

The Shelby County Health Department received 40+ doses of the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday evening January 19th from an agreement with our surrounding counties in Region B to share a shipment of Pfizer vaccine.
Pfizer is currently the only vaccine that is available to local public health departments, so the minimum shipment is 975 doses that must be kept at -80 degrees F.
Since health departments do not have access to extreme cold storage in their facilities, an off site distributor must accept that vaccine for us and then it is broken down to be distributed amongst those participating counties. “Our first shipment was earmarked to finish all those in tier 1A which were the front line healthcare workers, EMS workers, etc. Once we were able to assure vaccine in arms for those residents, we were then able to begin on our list of 1B participants in Tier 2,” Shelby County Health Director Audrey Gough explained.

Those over 65 years of age, and those 18-64 who are identified as high risk according to the CDC guidance are in the second Tier. “We were able to give 47 doses on Wednesday January 20, 2021. At this time we have another regional order at the state awaiting confirmation of our request for doses,” she said.

Orders for the vaccine must be submitted to DHSS by 5 p.m. on Wednesday of every week. Then DHSS has a group who goes through the orders and decides how to divide up the vaccine that is allotted to the state. Missouri has been steadily receiving 76,000 to 77,000 doses per week that has to be distributed through out the state. The number of doses that are shipped to Missouri each week are dependent on the reporting of the vaccination sites entering the data of each individual who receives the vaccine and how much vaccine is on hand at the end of each day. “So if there are vaccine providers who are sitting on doses and not distributing it they are not allowed to order any more until they draw down all of the vaccine they have on hand. This effects the overall number of doses the state receives each week as well.”
“We will receive notification of our order over the weekend with date of shipment and tracking information as well. So, as you can see, we are at the mercy of the Federal and State government as the demand is much higher than the supply at this time,” Gough said.
Manufacturers are moving as quickly as they can and with the more new vaccines on the horizon - Johnson and Johnson and Astra Zenica, that will help take the pressure off of Pfizer and Moderna.

Moderna vaccine has been the primary vaccine used in all of the Long term care facilities around the state. Starting next week it will be available to other vaccinators in the state.

“We continue to take names for a waiting list and we will be calling to make appointments for folks as soon as we receive confirmation of shipment based on the number of vaccine we anticipate to receive. It is a tedious process and much different that our normal vaccine clinics,” she said.

“After an individual receives the vaccine they must wait within the facility it’s administered in for 15 minutes to assess for any side effects. “So this slows down the process of how many we could serve in a days time.”

“We ask folks to continue to be patient and if the opportunity arises that they could receive it at another site such as Hannibal Regional Hospital then we strongly encourage folks to do so. HRH has been wonderful to work with and as many in the county who attended their vaccinations clinics know it’s a well oiled machine there that runs very smoothly and most folks are in and out of the site within 30 minutes. We are working closely together with them to assure we get vaccine in the arms of our Shelby County residents that want the vaccine,” Gough explained.

This is a fluid situation and is changing daily based on the production of vaccines and the distribution around the country and world.

“If you have already called to put your name on our list I assure you we will be calling to set up appointments when the time comes based on where you are on our list. We have a list of well over 650 residents who want to be vaccinated.

“Please stay tuned to our Facebook account and to the local news papers Facebook pages as we will be pushing out information as we receive it.”