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As Cole County prepares to close its COVID-19 vaccination site, the county's vaccination rate is at just more than 40 percent.

The community vaccination site at Capital Mall will close July 15, as mall management wanted access to the location, Cole County Health Department Director Kristi Campbell told the Cole County Commission on Tuesday. The state-run navigator system used to register people at the site will be discontinued at the end of July, she added.

"There are 14 places in the county offering the vaccines to the public, so they are readily available," Campbell said.

As of Tuesday, Cole County's COVID-19 vaccination initiation rate was 40.6 percent, with 36.8 percent of the population having completed vaccination, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Statewide, 44.3 percent of Missourians have initiated COVID-19 vaccination, with 38.9 percent of the state's population having completed vaccination.

The annual vaccination rate for the flu vaccine is usually 30-40 percent, Campbell said.

The Cole County Health Department has reported a total of 8,344 test-confirmed cases of COVID-19 among residents since the pandemic began last spring — with 26 new cases reported Tuesday.

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Campbell noted the department reports new COVID-19 cases by test date, not the date the positive test was reported to the department.

"The highest number that had tested positive on one day was June 24 with 13," she said.

Campbell also said no one has reported to the Cole County Health Department they were among the 15 state employees at the Truman State Office Building in Jefferson City who tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, but noted it can take several days before the department is notified of positive test results.

"COVID is not going away, so people still need to stay home when you're sick, avoid sick people and practice good hygiene such as washing your hands frequently," she said.

The county has had reports of 42 "breakthrough infections" of people who were vaccinated for COVID-19 contracted the virus, Campbell said.

"Some people might think that if they are vaccinated they don't have to worry," she said.

"The vaccination does help you from getting very sick or requiring hospitalization, although even fully vaccinated people have ended up in the hospital and dying."

More information about COVID-19 vaccinations in Missouri is available at covidvaccine.mo.gov.

"I had someone ask me about what could be done to get more people vaccinated, and I said we have done everything we can to vaccinate everybody, and I think the people that want to get vaccinated have done so," Presiding Commissioner Sam Bushman said Tuesday.

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