The Missouri United Methodist Church’s multipurpose room was turned into a makeshift clinic Saturday as a local pharmacy took charge of vaccinating Columbia residents.
D&H Drugstore sponsored the COVID-19 vaccination clinic after receiving 600 Moderna vaccine doses from the state last week.
Tanya Alberty, a pharmacist for D&H, said the priority was vaccinating people included in Phase 1A and Phase 1B, Tier 1. People in Phase 1B, Tier 2, were able to sign up as well.
Missouri has a phased approach to vaccinations. Phases 1A and 1B, Tier 1, include health care workers, emergency workers and public servants. Phase 1B, Tier 2, includes anyone age 65 and older and people with certain health conditions.
Alberty said the clinic vaccinated “kind of a combination of all three (of those) groups.”
“We’ve been working with (the) Boone County Health Department to identify anybody in that 1A group that still didn’t have the vaccine, and so they got all priority first,” Alberty said. “And then once we reached out to all of them, and got as many as wanted it, then we reached out to the next group.”
Alberty said close to 200 people in the 1A group received the vaccine and the rest of the 600 doses were available for those included in Phase 1B, Tier 1 and Tier 2 groups.
Joel Smith, an athletic trainer for Peak Sport and Spine, was one of the first to receive a vaccination at the clinic and sat for a few minutes afterward to make sure he didn’t have any negative reactions, as people are advised to do. Smith said he felt fine and reassured.
“I go out and cover high school sporting events, so it’s nice to get this protection,” he said.
Smith said he was hopeful more people would get vaccinated, especially seniors and those with preexisting conditions. He also gave D&H a shoutout for sponsoring the clinic.
“It’s really cool what D&H is doing, taking care of health care workers,” he said.
Heather Worthington, another pharmacist for D&H Drugstore, was in charge of drawing out the doses from the original vial into the needles to give to vaccinators. She said she was really excited about being able to give out vaccines and that the benefits outweigh people’s concerns.
The most common side effects of the Moderna vaccine are chills, fatigue and a headache, but not everyone will experience these, and they are typically mild to moderate, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“It’s no fun having a low-grade fever and a little bit of a headache and feeling fatigued and feeling body aches, but it only lasts about 24 to 36 hours,” Worthington said. “And I would do it 1,000 times over to know that I have the protection to protect myself, my family and my patients.”
Those who received the vaccine at the clinic only received the first dose and will have to come back in late February to receive the second.
So far, 6.2% of Missouri residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Missouri’s COVID-19 dashboard. In Boone County, 8.4% of the population has received at least the first dose.