HEALTH DEPT IMAGE

The St. Joseph Health Department will receive the COVID-19 vaccine from the Missouri DHSS and will work with partners to have it administered.

The Center for Disease Control released a COVID-19 vaccine playbook outlining a plan for the vaccine being released to the public. Local and state health officials now are preparing for the vaccine in what would be an unprecedented timeline for a vaccine.

Dr. Randall Williams, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services director, said the vaccine will be done in three phases with the first phase being done in long term care facilities, the second being for health care workers, and the third being rolled out to the general public.

Williams said he expects either the Moderna or the Pfizer vaccine to be done with trials and ready to be rolled out by the end of November. He said the vaccine would be sent out based on proportional population, which would mean Missouri would be the 18th state in line, with the fast turnaround preparing has been well under way.

“We don’t want to have the vaccine and not be in a position to distribute, we don’t want any bottlenecks to be in state of Missouri, so we’re actively planning... so we can distribute it because it’s complicated,” Williams said.

The vaccines would require cold storage as well as the vaccine to be taken twice by the public. The intricacies of the vaccine require some planning from the St. Joseph Health Department, who would be receiving the vaccines in phase three when the vaccine is ready for the public.

“We have an emergency response plan that addresses providing vaccine for individuals in a rapid process,” St. Joseph Health Director Debra Bradley said. “We would set up what’s called a closed pod, points of dispensing, and we have several places in town that are identified as those, so they would be identified, so they sign an agreement and then they are responsible for getting the vaccine to the people that they identified as theirs (patients).”

Williams said he is not worried about the safety of the vaccine, as he said that would be figured out in the trials, but he said there is always some worry with the efficacy. That worry is not abnormal as it is also a worry with the yearly flu vaccine, he said.

Williams said in order for herd immunity to be developed 60% of people would need to take the COVID-19 vaccine. For a good year, Williams said 45% of people take the flu vaccine.

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