South County seemed to be the last part of the region that had not ever hosted a COVID-19 mass vaccination event, but now multiple events are happening over the next week. The state and St. Louis County will separately hold their first mass vaccination events in South County this weekend, and the county will hold a third event Thursday, April 8.
With residents driving hours to get vaccines, Rep. Jim Murphy, R-Oakville, approached Gov. Mike Parson last week to ask for a mass event in South County. It will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 3, at Bernard Middle School, 1054 Forder Road. A county-run event will happen the same day and time at South Technical High School, 12721 West Watson Road in Sunset Hills.
A third county event will take place from 9 a.m to 3 p.m. Thursday, April 8, at the Kennedy Recreation Center, 6050 Wells Road.
All three events are appointment only. The South County Tech event will draw from the county’s preregistration list, and the county did not yet know how appointments would be decided for the Kennedy event at the time The Call went to press.
The state-run Bernard event will have 1,200 doses, Murphy told The Call. The two county events would likely have at least 2,000 doses of vaccine each, which is standard for the county mass vaccination events, a county spokesman told The Call.
Until the Bernard event, the closest state-run mass vaccination sites to South County had been in North County, Jefferson County and St. Charles County, and all those events draw from local county lists instead of the state list.
Murphy said that he found the timing of the county announcement of its two sites interesting since it came within hours of his own announcement of the state site, in which he specifically blamed County Executive Sam Page for not prioritizing South County.
“St. Louis County continues to work hard to remove barriers to vaccinations for all County residents,” Page said in a news release. “This week we are vaccinating a record 15,000 individuals, and as long as the state continues to increase the supply of vaccine we get, our capacity to administer doses will increase as well.”
Page’s administration credited 6th District County Councilman Ernie Trakas for working to find sites in South County that can be used repeatedly. The availability of such sites improves efficiency because less setup work is required between events. That is the case at the Florissant Valley campus of the St. Louis Community College in North County, which was the county’s first mass vaccination site outside of DPH clinics.
The county also said it already provides hundreds of vaccinations weekly in South County through partnerships with area fire districts and emergency personnel. The addition of the two new sites means that the county will administer vaccinations in more than 15 locations, including mobile units that serve senior housing complexes and homebound individuals.