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story.lead_photo.caption JCMG registered nurse Melinda Sperandio administers a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Thursday at the Cole County Health Department's vaccination clinic inside Capital Mall. Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.

The Cole County coronavirus vaccination clinic is down to operating one day per week.

In March, Cole County commissioners signed a lease for the site — at Capital Mall — allowing the county to use the space for $10,000 per month through July.

When the site opened April 12, it was open four days a week, and county leaders anticipated it would provide about 4,000 vaccinations each week. It was expected to be a central hub, where residents of neighboring counties could come in and receive vaccinations.

But many Missourians have been hesitant to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Within a week of its opening, the site began accepting walk-in patients. Although expectations were higher, only 1,712 people came into the clinic for vaccinations that first week. During its second week, the site served 736 patients. It served 346 the following week, and 1,743 the week after that.

But, fewer people came asking for vaccinations, and by May 24, the site reduced its hours to two days per week — Mondays and Thursdays. However, it did extend hours on Thursdays until 6 p.m. to accommodate people who couldn't get away from work.

Last week, it served 403 people in two days. It served 549 the week beginning May 16.

For now, the site will remain open 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursdays. Walk-ins are welcome until 4 p.m.

The last clinic is scheduled July 15.

Under an agreement the Cole County Commission signed to set up the site, the county is to pay partners (such as Capital Region Medical Center, Jefferson City Medical Group, St. Mary's Hospital and Community Health Center of Central Missouri) $40 per hour per person for vaccination services. Invoices are paid monthly. The total amount is not to exceed $150,000.

To receive vaccinations, patients are asked to register at covidvaccine.mo.gov. Or, they may call 877-435-8411.

In addition to the central vaccination clinic, the Cole County Health Department will offer a one-hour Johnson & Johnson clinic 9-10 a.m. Tuesday at its offices, 3400 W. Truman Blvd., said Chezney Schulte, Cole County communicable disease coordinator.

The J&J clinic is intended to help the county use up a limited supply of the vaccine the county health department is holding. J&J is a single-dose vaccination. Other vaccines — from Pfizer and Moderna — require a second (booster) dose.

"While some vaccine has been allocated to other public health departments and other health care organizations, we do have several doses of J&J that need to be used prior to expiration," she said.

To make an appointment for the J&J clinic, patients are asked to register on the health department's website.

As the pandemic has eased, Cole County Health officials have concentrated more on services they normally offer, Schulte said.

"There were certainly days that clinic services were unavailable, or weeks that scheduling an appointment was required rather than accessing the walk-in services," Schulte said.

At the same time, she added, neighboring counties closed their clinical services, putting more demand on Cole County.

The Cole County Health Department is now back to pre-pandemic hours for clinical services, she said. And staff are providing services they would during typical years, such as providing back-to-school immunizations, flu shot clinics, communicable disease investigations, and education and worksite wellness programs.

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