On April 8 and 9, Missouri State University partnered with several local and state organizations, including the Springfield-Greene County Health Department and National Guard, to administer COVID-19 vaccines to  Missouri residents during a Mega Vaccination Site.

The event was held at the Hammons Student Center and saw a total of 6,131 Missouri residents vaccinated using the Johnson & Johnson Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine, according to MSU President Clif Smart. April 8 saw over 1,700 Phase 1 and 2 eligible citizens vaccinated, according to Assistant Director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department Katie Towns. 

Phase 1 covered multiple sectors, including healthcare workers, law enforcement, elderly citizens and critical infrastructure workers. Phase 2 covered those accelerating recovery, such as critical manufacturing, financial services and government staff.

Phase 3 opened on April 9, which allowed any Missouri resident over 18 to receive the vaccine.

45 vaccination stations were available at the Mega Vaccination Site. Vaccinators included a mix of MSU and OTC students, National Guardsmen and professionals from the Missouri Disaster Medical Assistance Team. After receiving the shot, patients were held for 15 minutes to make sure no immediate side effects took place, Towns said.

Attendees were given proof of vaccination cards and contact information if they had any further questions.

Towns said while Springfield is beginning to reopen, the event helped speed up the process even more.

“We have announced at the city council level the next step of our reopening will be on April 16,” Towns said. “We will be removing the occupancy limits on the city of Springfield. We’ll keep the masks, but our aim was to get 25% of Greene County fully vaccinated. What this helps us do is get us a few steps beyond that percentage point.”

A mix of Army and Air National Guardsman directed traffic both inside and outside Hammons Student Center. Army Captain and Public Affairs Officer Jeremy Idleman said the Missouri National Guard has helped at 197 similar events prior to the Mega Vaccination Site on Missouri State’s campus. 

Idleman encouraged Missouri residents to get vaccinated to protect both themselves and their communities. 

Myranda Vitale, freshman business major, and Hayley Steen, sophomore exercise and movement science major, received the vaccine at the same time. Both girls said it was “easy and quick ... less than fives minutes.” Both were excited the vaccine would help them protect others.

David Hall, director of university safety at Missouri State, said organizers were pleased with the way the event went. Hall said he believes due to the amount of vaccinations received at the Mega Vaccination Site, there is little need to do another one of its size in the future. However, MSU is still providing vaccinations through Magers Health and Wellness Center, examining if there is a need for a targeted vaccination outreach and trying to provide vaccinations to those who need it.

“We haven’t made any decisions about fall yet,” Hall said. “Once we get closer to there, what we will see is if there is a need to do something in order to give a large amount of vaccinations at one time.”

To schedule a vaccination through Magers Health and Wellness Center, students can visit their MyHealthPortal

 

Follow Tinsley Merriman on Twitter, @merrimantinsley

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