JEFFERSON COUNTY, Mo. — The Jefferson County Health Department will close its mass vaccination site to focus on mobile vaccine clinics.
In a press release, the county's health department said their Festus COVID-19 vaccination site will close effective June 15. The last vaccine clinic at this location will be hosted on June 1; a second dose clinic for those who received their first dose on May 4, the press release said.
“This location has served its intended purpose and we are grateful to Jones Festus Properties, Missouri National Guard, the cities of Festus and Crystal City, and our volunteers and staff for their partnership and dedication,” Jefferson County Health Department Director Kelley Vollmar said in the release.
The site is located inside an old Shop n' Save building and was capable of administering 2,000 doses per day.
The department said 37% of the total number of the vaccines it has provided were administered through the site.
The press release said the department will focus its vaccination efforts out of the High Ridge location and mobile clinics throughout the county.
“It’s important to make sure we are continuing to meet the needs of the community,” Vollmar said in the release.
Jefferson County residents interested in getting vaccinated can visit the health department's website for more information.
The leader of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force said they are working on a plan to transition from mass vaccination clinics to targeted vaccine events in an effort to boost vaccination rates.
Dr. Alex Garza, the incident commander of the task force, said mass vaccination events did the job of administering the vaccine to willing patients, but the effort needs to change to push the numbers higher.
"We've already vaccinated the low-hanging fruit — so, people that were willing to get vaccinated," Dr. Garza said. "So now it's going to take a little bit of a different approach to overcome the hesitancy or to make it more convenient, and any of these other things we can do to really push that final mile of vaccinations."
Dr. Garza said he and other hospital leaders are planning a meeting with other community leaders to develop new strategies. He said those new strategies could include working with churches, schools, businesses and community organizations.
St. Louis County is also changing its vaccine plan.