St. Louis County announces plan for mass vaccination sites, starting in Ferguson

Intensive+care+nurse+Nicole+Boyer+speaks+with+reporters+after+being+one+of+the+first+20+nurses+at+Mercy+Hospital+South+to+receive+the+COVID-19+vaccine+Monday%2C+Dec.+14%2C+2020.+Boyer%2C+who+works+in+the+ICU%2C+has+seen+the+worst+of+the+worst+of+COVID-19+cases.+

Photo by Erin Achenbach

Intensive care nurse Nicole Boyer speaks with reporters after being one of the first 20 nurses at Mercy Hospital South to receive the COVID-19 vaccine Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. Boyer, who works in the ICU, has seen ‘the worst of the worst’ of COVID-19 cases.

By Gloria Lloyd, News Editor

St. Louis County will open a mass COVID-19 vaccination site in Ferguson, with plans to open similar sites across the county, but it’s not yet known when the site will open and how many vaccines the state will give the county to distribute.

The first mass vaccination site will be at the Florissant Valley Campus of St. Louis Community College, and the county hopes it can open as soon as next week, depending on vaccine supply from the state.

As of the time of the announcement from County Executive Sam Page Wednesday morning, Missouri ranked 50th out of the 50 states in vaccine distribution.

Jeff Pittman, the chancellor of the St. Louis Community College system, said that he looked forward to opening future mass vaccination sites at the Meramec, South County and Wildwood campuses and working with nursing students to administer vaccines.

The sites will be by appointment only, as the county tackles its list of those who have preregistered for the vaccine who are now eligible. More than 320,000 people have signed up as of Wednesday.

As many as several hundred shots a day could be given at the Ferguson mass vaccination site, depending on how many vaccines the county has, Page said.

“The more people who get vaccinated the more we can have conversations about moving about more freely in our community,” Page said.

But with the “tremendous interest” in St. Louis County, “the challenge for us and all communities across the country is one of supply and demand — we simply are not getting enough vaccine to get everyone vaccinated as quickly as possible, and this is frustrating. We are working with the state and others to get the vaccine into St. Louis County and to do that, we have to show that we have the infrastructure in place to get people vaccinated and that’s why we’re here today.”

Page also announced the hiring of a new position in the county Department of Public Health to directly promote the vaccine and health initiatives to minority communities that have been hard hit by the pandemic.

He noted that preregistration for the vaccine lags in North County compared to other places in the county.

Residents who wish to sign up to be vaccinated by the county Department of Public Health should visit stlcorona.com and follow the link for registration to http://ow.ly/zJGN50D1yu7, or email dphcovidvaccine@stlouisco.com to receive the same link. Once you register with St. Louis County, you will receive a “Thank you” message on your screen. That confirms that the county has your information and that the county will contact you as soon as it is ready for you to make an appointment.