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story.lead_photo.caption Members of the Missouri Army National Guard assisted state and local health agencies Feb. 5 at The Linc by directing traffic. There was a steady line of vehicles in the area for hours as people who pre-registered for the vaccine went to get their shot. Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.

Local health officials were pleased Friday with how the first public mass COVID-19 vaccination event in Jefferson City went.

The event at The Linc on Lafayette Street saw more than 2,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine administered.

"Things worked out very well," Cole County Health Department Director Kristi Campbell said. "We had many people tell us they were pleased with how the event was managed."

This event was among many that will be held across the state among a partnership with the Missouri National Guard, Department of Health and Senior Services, and local health care systems.

The vaccinations were given to Cole County residents who had signed up with the Cole County Health Department for information about COVID-19 vaccines. The clinic targeted county residents who are 65 and older or who are considered at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Participants checked in, sat down and waited until a vaccinator came to them with a cart, went over their paperwork, then gave the shot. The participants stayed for 15 minutes to make sure there was no allergic reaction.

Other than a couple reports of people feeling lightheaded, there were no reports of serious reactions to the vaccine, Campbell said.

Some Capital Region Medical Center staff directed nursing students from Lincoln University on how to prepare the vaccines to be administered.

"We had one table of students diluting the vaccine and another table of students pulled the six doses out of each vile," said Denny Hamilton, director of the pharmacy and business development at CRMC.

When they open a vile of the vaccine, they don't have long to administer the doses, Hamilton said.

"On Thursday, the vials of vaccine were in a freezer with a temperature set at -90 degrees," he said. "We took them out and thawed them in refrigeration. After we thaw them, they are only good for five days, and once we took them out of the refrigerator we had here at The Linc, they were good for only six hours."

Hamilton said the vials they prepared for the first part of the event were used by noon. They prepared another supply of vaccine around 11 a.m. to be used before the end of the day.

Near the end of the event, Campbell said, they had some doses left over and made calls to people on the list who hadn't been scheduled for a shot.

Gov. Mike Parson announced that mass vaccination sites would be established in each of the nine Missouri Highway Patrol regions by the end of January. The first week of mass vaccination events took place last weekend, with nearly 20,000 Missourians receiving an initial COVID-19 vaccine dose.

In total, there will be 27 separate mass vaccination events hosted by the state. The National Guard and DHSS vaccination teams will return to each site after 21 days to administer second-dose vaccinations. In Jefferson City, the second doses are scheduled Feb. 26.

In addition to these mass vaccination events, DHSS recently announced partnerships with selected hospitals in each region of the state to support high-throughput vaccine distribution. St. Mary's Hospital and Capital Region Medical Center's vaccines will be delivered Feb. 8 and Feb. 22, according to state officials.

Representatives of both Jefferson City hospitals said they will share information about vaccine events with patients on their waiting lists. Both hospitals said patients should contact their primary care provider to be added to the waiting list or schedule a vaccination. Those without a primary care provider may establish medical care with a provider at either hospital or contact the local health department about scheduling a vaccination.

The state is committing approximately 53 percent of weekly vaccine allocations to the selected hospitals and 23 percent to the regional mass vaccination events. The remaining 24 percent will go to local public health agencies, federally qualified health centers and other enrolled community providers.

Missourians are encouraged to visit MOStopsCOVID.com to view the latest vaccine updates, find out when they are eligible for the vaccine and locate available vaccinators in the area.

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