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Truman Medical Center Opens COVID-19 Vaccine To People 65 And Older

FILE - In this March 16, 2020, file photo, Neal Browning receives a shot at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle, in the first-stage safety study clinical trial of a potential vaccine for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Many world leaders at this week's virtual U.N. summit hope it will be a vaccine made available and affordable to all countries, rich and poor. But with the U.S., China and Russia opting out of a collaborative effort to develop and distribute a vaccine, and some rich nations striking deals with pharmaceutical companies to secure millions of potential doses, the U.N. pleas are plentiful but likely in vain. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Ted S. Warren
Missouri entered Phase 1B of it's vaccination plan on Monday, which includes those 65 years old and older, pregnant women, first responders, and people with severe chronic health conditions.

While some hospitals are beginning to administer vaccines more widely, local health departments say they’re still trying to inoculate health care providers.

People 65 years old and older can now get their dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Truman Medical Center.

Missouri entered the second tier of its vaccination plan Monday in anticipation of receiving more doses from the federal government.

Under the new phase, people over 65, pregnant women, first responders, and those with underlying health conditions are now eligible for their dose.

TMC officials said they are not currently offering the vaccine to the entire community and will focus on existing patients, staff members, and first responders until more doses become available.

Dr. Mark Steele, Truman Medical Center Executive Chief Clinical Officer, said existing patients who are eligible should hear from them soon.

“Our next step is that we will be reaching out directly to our TMC patients who are 75 and over, and who are at the most risk,” Steele said.

The medical center is also working to vaccinate first responders including the Kansas City Police Department and the Jackson County Sheriff's Office.

The hospital is continuing to vaccinate its staff and is now administering the second dose of the vaccine.

While Truman Medical Center forged ahead with the state’s vaccine plan, other local health departments are further behind.

Jackson County Health Department officials said they don’t have a timeline yet for when they’ll move into Phase 1B.

“Healthcare workers remain our number one priority. We just want to get a few more individuals a chance to get vaccinated first and then once we're at that point that we feel comfortable moving forward, then we'll go ahead and move on to those other phases,” Kayla Parker, Jackson County Health Department’s communication coordinator, said.

Parker said the health department will contact people who took its online COVID-19 vaccination survey once their tier becomes eligible.

The Kansas City Health Department is also focusing on vaccinating healthcare workers as they move into the next phase of vaccinations.

“A few weeks ago we put out a survey to connect health care providers who did not have a place to get vaccinated with vaccinators. This included groups such as home health care workers or specialized treatment, like dialysis clinics. These groups are still where our attention is for vaccinations,” department spokeswoman Michelle Pekarsky said.

Pekarsky said the department will notify individuals who filled out the survey when the vaccination is available for their priority group, but “supplies are not even close to demand.”

More than 25,100 people have completed the health department’s vaccination survey and an influx of callers led officials to shut the survey’s phone line down until they can catch up, according to Pekarsky.

The department is now working on an alternative to the online survey for those without internet access.

Missouri residents can also visit the state’s COVID-19 response websiteto see a map of vaccine providers, but the site asks that residents “understand that many vaccinators are still awaiting supplies from the federal government.”

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