Vintage Gardens receives first round of COVID-19 vaccine (copy)

Phyllis Benitz receives the first round of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in January at Vintage Gardens, a senior living center. More than 60% of individuals 65 and over have received the COVID-19 vaccine in Buchanan County.

A majority of Buchanan County’s senior citizens have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to state officials, 60.6% of Buchanan County residents 65 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Statewide, the number is slightly higher, with Gov. Mike Parson tweeting Tuesday that 65% of Missouri seniors have gotten shots.

St. Joseph Health Director Debra Bradley said the high vaccination rate among the most vulnerable population is a good sign.

“It’s very encouraging to see that people 65 and over have gotten the vaccine, that they trusted and believe it,” Bradley said.

Buchanan County has lagged behind the state in total vaccinations with just 15.5% of the overall population in the county receiving at least one dose so far. Statewide, the number is just above 28%.

Bradley said she thinks the key to encouraging middle-aged people to get the vaccine is touting the fact that it will protect others around them and help things return to normalcy.

“You’re not only protecting yourself from contracting the virus and getting really sick, you are protecting your family and friends that you have regular contact with,” Bradley said.

Mosaic Life Care officials announced Tuesday that teens between the ages of 16 and 18 now can sign up to receive the Pfizer vaccine from the St. Joseph Community Vaccine Clinic. The Pfizer vaccine is the only COVID-19 shot currently approved for those under 18, although studies have been underway in younger teens and children to test whether the doses are safe and effective for them as well.

“Especially at that age, they’re busy with starting new jobs, doing sports and other activities, so it’s good that they can protect each other and protect their friends and their teammates by being vaccinated,” Bradley said.

Starting Friday, Missouri guidelines will open to all adults to receive the vaccine.

According to a news release from Parson’s office, the state has administered more than 300,000 COVID-19 shots in the past seven days through state-sponsored mass vaccination sites.

Clayton Anderson can be reached at clayton.anderson@newspressnow.com. Follow him on twitter: @NPNowAnderson.

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