The following is a press release from the Webster County COVID-19 Task Force.

The Webster County COVID-19 Task Force was formed with the following goals in mind:

1. Provide a multi-Disciplinary forum and approach for the discussion and evaluation of information related to COVID-19. Comprised of members from public health, Community Health Providers, Local Hospital/Mo. Ambulance Association, Fire Service, EMS, Emergency Communications (911), Physicians, and a County Commissioner,

2. Provide data, research, and opinion to the County Commission to assist the Commission in understanding the current county, state and country medical statistics giving perspective to the ever-evolving situations in the area and in Webster County, and to provide input and information to the Commission for making decisions related to COVID 19,

3. Provide for the distribution of approved information to the community related to COVID 19,

4. Create a cohesive network within the community to continue and improve the response to COVID 19 in Webster County, utilizing available resources and input from medical experts and organizations in Webster County and in the area,

5. To act as liaisons to each individual discipline, ensuring the distribution of information to colleagues and related organizations within the county. The physicians of the Webster County COVID-19 Task Force, Dr. Sam Alexander, MD and Dr. Dennis Robinson, DO, wish to share the following information with our community. Since the Spanish Influenza Epidemic in 1918, this COVID-19 pandemic is one of the worst public health crises in over 100 years. Many people have died; many have been hospitalized with severe illnesses; and some have suffered through the illness at home. To be sure, this pandemic has touched all our lives in countless ways, including financially, socially, psychologically, and physically. It is our strong hope that a vaccine is coming to Webster County very soon. The Webster County COVID-19 Task Force has been working hard to obtain doses of the vaccine and to facilitate the vaccinating of as many of our citizens as desire to be vaccinated. Dr. Robinson and his facility,Marshfield Family Clinic, in conjunction with the Webster County COVID-19 Task Force, applied to be a vaccination site in Webster County. Dr. Robinson ordered doses of the vaccine, and has now received the first doses. These doses are limited by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services to be administered to phase 1A persons

(healthcare providers). It is the intention of the Task Force to continue to order and provide community access to vaccination as the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services moves through the different phases of vaccine release. There have been many misleading claims against the vaccines. Please be aware of the following.The Potential for Symptoms and Necessary ProtectionsDr. Sam Alexander, Emergency Department Physician at Cox Health in Springfield, Missouri, has been offered and has received the COVID-19 vaccination with only mild soreness around the injection site.Dr. Dennis Robinson, Marshfield (MO) family practice physician, has not yet had the opportunity to take the vaccination; however, he is ready and willing to do so when it becomes available.Over 6,000 employees at Cox Health and a similar number at Mercy Hospital have received the vaccine with no extraordinary symptoms other than soreness at injection site, which generally has lasted no more than one to two days. Most of those vaccinated have reported that their discomfort has been relieved by taking an over-the-counter pain reliever such as Advil, Tylenol, etc. Statistics indicate that having received the first of two COVID-19 vaccine injections, Dr. Alexander now has only a 1 in 3 chance of contracting the virus accompanied by mild symptoms. After his second vaccination injection, he will have only a 1 in 20 chance of contracting a very mild case of COVID-19.

As a practicing emergency department physician, for the past year Dr. Alexander has been exposed daily to all stages of active COVID-19 patients. With similar COVID-19 exposure histories, only 3 out of 41 emergency department physicians known to our task force physicians have had COVID-19 infections, and of these, all three probably contracted the virus from exposure to family and/or friends. The above COVID-19 infection probabilities by those regularly exposed to the virus strongly supports their practice of actively protecting themselves from the virus. They do so by proactively wearing masks and eye protection appropriately (as recommended by the CDC and our local health departments); maintaining social distancing, and keeping their hands sanitized. Dr. Sam Alexander and Dr. Dennis Robinson are making the strongest possible plea: “In consultation with your local physician, every citizen should do the right thing: get vaccinated. This is our best chance to finally end this catastrophic pandemic and win the war against this horrific virus.”

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