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Waiting on vaccines


On Sept. 11, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the updated COVID-19 vaccines. These vaccines, are "formulated to more closely target currently circulating variants (Including Omicron variant XBB.1.5.) and to provide better protection against serious consequences of COVID-19, including hospitalization and death," according to the FDA statement found on their website. Everyone six months and older is recommended to get the updated vaccine.

After news of this came out, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) released a statement on Sept. 13 informing everyone the updated vaccines from both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna will be "available in locations throughout Missouri this week."

Citizens in Webster County will have to wait a bit longer.

"As of this moment, we have not received a drop of the new vaccine," said Webster County Health Unit Administrator Scott Allen. "It's unclear when we will."

The Health Unit has been working to get vaccines ordered for the county. So far, they have only been able to collect 70 doses for ages 18 and older who are underinsured or do not have insurance—a drop in the bucket for the over 40,000 citizens of Webster County.

"We do not know when to expect it," said Allen. "We were at least able to order it. We have also tried to order for children six months to 17 years who are under or uninsured, and have not been able to. We'll do everything in our power to let our residents know once some come in."

DHSS wants to remind everyone that vaccination is the best protection against COVID-19, the flu, and RSV this fall and winter season. Vaccines will be available to most Missourians at no cost through most insurance plans, and those who are uninsured can get them for free at local health agencies and pharmacies such as Walgreens and CVS. The COVID-19 vaccine is entirely voluntary.

"Just as in the previous years, the State of Missouri will not require anyone to be vaccinated against COVID-19; that's not our role," said Paula F. Nickelson, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. "We work to ensure Missourians have access to factual information about the vaccines and access to vaccines themselves if they choose. We encourage each individual to discuss vaccination with their medical provider."

Some tips and practices to help prevent the spread of any virus or sickness while protecting you, your family, coworkers, and your community include if you are sick or feel unwell, staying home is the best way to stop. Also, practice good hand washing and testing yourself when ill to identify what you have.

If you want to know updated information or have any questions, you can contact one of the nurses at the Webster County Health Unit by calling 417-859-2532.


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