VACCINE FEB 17 2 (copy)

Michelle Nelson receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine last week. City health officials are trying to urge the state to have a mass vaccination clinic in St. Joseph.

Local health officials are asking the state to host a mass vaccination site in St. Joseph at the community vaccination clinic.

As of now, the clinic at the East Hills Shopping Center is receiving about 1,500 COVID-19 immunizations a week, and a mass vaccination site would add to that total.

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services officials have said the mass vaccination sites staffed by the National Guard are designed to be for rural areas.

“The state does not want our county to have a mass vaccination clinic because they feel that is too much,” said Debra Bradley, St. Joseph Health Department director.

As of Monday, 8% of Buchanan County residents had received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. The state has passed a million total doses given and has 11.5% of the population vaccinated with a first dose.

Bradley said she is working with other providers and health departments to take vaccines that those agencies are unable to use and get them to the community clinic at the mall. She said the clinic could easily vaccinate 1,000 people a day.

“I’ve been very clear to all the health departments that should they pass it (vaccination allotments), please know it will be accepted in St. Joe so that we can push it into the community clinic,” Bradley said.

Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said he expects the states supply of vaccines to increase come March when the Johnson & Johnson version of the immunization is approved.

The Johnson & Johnson shot is a one-dose vaccine and is set to be reviewed by the FDA on Friday.

Bradley said the health department has not received any additional information about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine other than it may be used for underserved individuals. She said that the vaccination clinic has been great for the city and the only thing that is holding it back is supply.

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