Covid-19 case spike in Missouri prompting more to get vaccinated

 JOPLIN, Mo. & WEBB CITY, Mo.— Southwest Missouri is dealing with its worst Covid-19 case surge since last winter.

The rises of new variants and the increase of younger populations being hospitalized are some reasons those who were hesitant to get vaccinated are choosing now to do so.

Just a few weeks ago, Prater’s Pharmacy in Webb City barely saw anyone come in for a shot.

“A few weeks back we saw, you know it was dwindling down to almost no vaccines daily, we had in the past done a whole bunch, we were doing 20-30 a day, and then it dropped off to almost zero, and then in the past couple weeks we’ve had a huge huge increase,” said pharmacy manager Adam Fletcher.

This increase has led to more vaccine clinics, like one held on Thursday at James River Church in Joplin.

“Earlier this week we did a clinic at each one of the Springfield locations and it was just logical to come down here to Joplin to take care of the fourth campus,” said Robert Stephens with the Jordan Valley Community Health Center.

The church is partnering with the Jordan Valley Community Health Center to get more vaccines out into Southwest Missouri. They say churches were the perfect spot since they’re usually empty during the week.

“We just have to continue to keep getting the word out, hopefully, we’ll continue to go to churches like James River, and offer these clinics. There are vulnerable populations all over the southwestern part of the state,” Stephens said.

With mobile clinics like this one, they’re able to reach more who otherwise may not have gotten vaccinated.

“Well, I’ve been pretty nervous about getting my shot up to this point.”

Katie Rattles, a Joplin school teacher had covid back in January, and developed neurological symptoms in March. Because of this, she worried about how her body would react to the vaccine. But with local cases surging and the school year approaching, she decided to get her shot.

“I’m gonna be working at the middle school this year and I’m gonna have a lot more students…I just feel like it’s really important to stay safe and keep the kiddos safe,” Rattles said.

The community health center says they hope by getting more vaccines out, Missouri can see an end to Covid related hospitalizations and deaths.