Document: Cole County/DHSS Influenza Vaccination ContractView
The more than $17,000 contract between the Missouri and Cole County health departments approved this week by the Cole County Commission is an example of how the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services wants to use federal money this year to boost influenza vaccinations.
Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said this week the state's anti-flu campaign will start Monday.
Usually about 45 percent of people get vaccinated against the flu, but Williams would like that number to be 60 percent this year, he said.
DHSS spokeswoman Lisa Cox said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided CDC-funded jurisdictions — including states, territories, cities and one tribal nation — with additional money for flu immunization programs.
"The funding had to be spent targeting adult populations most at risk for contracting COVID-19 and aimed at increasing influenza vaccination rates. This is to try and prevent secondary respiratory infections and reduce the burden on the health care systems," Cox said.
All 114 local public health agencies in Missouri have been offered contracts, she noted. As of Friday, 87 had signed.
The contract between DHSS and the Cole County Health Department approved by the County Commission this week is worth $17,500 — all of it federally funded.
DHSS has a standing grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to fund such immunization cooperative agreements. The more than $13.6 million grant started July 1, 2019, and ends June 30, 2024, according to federal spending data.
The $13.6 million total includes more than $2.2 million of CDC money added in June as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
Cox said the more than $2.2 million is for efforts to increase flu vaccination rates among adults — especially those at increased risk of contracting COVID-19.
Of that money, more than $1.4 million has been earmarked for contracts with local public health agencies.
"We are not sure if we will receive similar funding next influenza season. Therefore, there is a possibility we can only sustain this one influenza season," Cox said of the CDC money.
Immunization cooperative agreements also support states' and communities' efforts to fight other vaccine-preventable diseases including measles, polio, diphtheria, hepatitis, chickenpox, mumps and pneumococcal pneumonia.
"I believe Missouri has offered contracts before for influenza clinics but possibly not to this degree of funding," Cox said.
Cole County Health Department Director Kristi Campbell said the money in the county's flu program contract would be used to reimburse the county for nurses' time spent providing off-site flu clinics for at-risk adults.
An hour of time for a registered nurse is reimbursable at $29.21, $19.76 per hour for a licensed practical nurse, and $15.08 per hour for a medical assistant. Communicable disease specialists are reimbursable at $27.14 per hour, and senior-level management staff are reimbursable at $34.76 per hour.
Travel expenses are not reimbursable, and the availability of funds can be reduced or reallocated if the funds are not being used.
The authorized funds for Cole County are available through Feb. 28, 2021. DHSS will reimburse expenses monthly, upon receipt of proper invoices and reports.
The contract defines its populations of focus as adults at higher risk from COVID-19; staff and residents of long-term care facilities, assisted living centers, nursing homes and adult day care facilities; adults with underlying illnesses; African American adults; and adults who are workers in critical infrastructure, including grocery stores and certain manufacturing and food plants.
Off-site vaccination clinics for administering flu vaccine to people in the target populations may include curbside, drive-thru and college campus options, as well as at sites of partner organizations including community health centers, pharmacies, nursing homes, senior centers and school districts.
Campbell said Cole County's primary off-site locations for flu clinics in the past have been the Samaritan Center, Project Homeless Connect and The Salvation Army, all in Jefferson City.
She said people seeking more information about upcoming off-site flu clinics can find that through the Cole County Health Department at colecounty.org/186/Health-Department or by calling 573-636-2181.
Immunizations are also offered at the Cole County Health Department, at 3400 W. Truman Blvd. — though beginning Sept. 21 and through Oct. 30, clinic clients will be seen by appointment only. Normal walk-in hours will resume Nov. 2. Appointments can be scheduled by calling the number above.
Birth and death certificates will continue to be provided on a walk-in basis, the county Health Department announced Thursday.