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County gets first shipment of COVID vaccine

By Mike Genet

The Jackson County Health Department received its first shipment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine this week and has been scheduling appointments to receive the vaccine through an online survey.

Missouri is in Phase 1A of distribution, which is geared toward residents of long-term care facilities and staff and health-care workers who deal directly with patients. 

Appointments this week to receive shots from the first vaccine shipment, which contained 975 doses, filled up, though the department says more appointments will be available in the coming weeks. Spokesperson Kayla Parker said the department will not release how many doses it receives.

The Health Department says all people who live or work in Jackson County and are interested in receiving the vaccine can fill out a survey on the department’s website, As the vaccine becomes more available in 1A and in later phases, the department will contact people with further instructions to schedule an appointment. 

The survey asks for contact information, occupation and pre-existing medical conditions. Responses from the survey will help the Health Department determine which phase of the state’s vaccination plan residents fall under. 

“This is one way that we can get information out to individuals as quickly as possible,” County Health Department Director Bridgette Shaffer said in a release. “We know people are looking for information, and we want to provide access to it whenever it becomes available.” 

The Independence’ Health Department expects to be part of Moderna vaccine distribution as early as phase 1B of Missouri’s plan, city spokesperson Meg Lewis. The city is not working with the county on its efforts, though Independence residents are eligible to register with the county to receive a shot.

Phase 1B is for people considered high-risk individuals or people age 65-older, first responders and essential workers. The city says it will share distribution and registration information when that time arises. Essential workers include those who work in public health, child care, teaching and education staffs, water and wastewater, energy, food and agriculture and critical manufacturing.