Johnson County Community Health Services received their first shipment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine late last week and with the help of the University of Central Missouri and Western Missouri Medical Center started vaccinating healthcare workers in the County.

JCCHS provided Western Missouri Medical Center with the vaccine, and they started offering it to their front line healthcare workers.

According to a Facebook post, long time Johnson County physician Dr. Bradford Carper received the vaccine because he believes in protecting his patients. Nurse Practitioner Jacki Addington received the vaccine to reduce exposure to her family, as well as her patients at Family Healthcare – Concordia. And paramedic Sara McIntyre got the vaccine because she helps 20 emergency room patients a day.

The University of Central Missouri is providing the ultra-cold storage unit needed for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The high tech freezer is one of three at UCM usually used by faculty and students in the School of Natural Sciences for research. Western Missouri Medical Center received the unit on Sunday December 13 and it will be available to the County for an indefinite period.

“We anticipate the freezer being utilized for vaccine storage at least through the spring 2021 semester, and possibly longer,” said Alice Greife, dean of the College of Health, Science and Technology. “While this will limit our capacity for super cold storage, it was never a question by our faculty as to whether or not we should do this. The first thing they wanted to know was how can we get it done as quickly as possible to help the community?”

Johnson County Community Health Services, Western Missouri Medical Center, and the University of Central Missouri and the staff of University Health Center have been collaborating and supporting each other throughout the pandemic:

  • Johnson County Community Health Services trained University Health Center personnel on case management and contract tracing. And University Health Center personnel provided 252 hours of nursing support to JCCHS.
  • Western Missouri Medical Center set up a COVID-19 testing tent early in the pandemic that University Health Center was able to use to test UCM students.
  • JCCHS, UCM and WMMC along with other county level agencies set up an Emergency Operations Center early in the pandemic to address this health issue.

Johnson County Community Health Services is still working out a vaccine distribution plan with it's area partners. They say it will be "several weeks before everyone can get the vaccine, so remember to play it safe and continue with safety precautions to help slow the spread of COVID-19."

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