Missouri launches new push in effort to get thousands more vaccinated

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LIBERTY, Mo. — As the number of COVID-19 cases increases across Missouri, the state launched a new effort in hopes of convincing thousands of unvaccinated people to get the vaccine.

It’s called “COVID Stops Here.”

The Missouri Chamber is behind the new effort. Instead of talking about the reasons people need to be vaccinated against COVID-19, the message highlights workplaces.

Companies and other workplaces that reach a 70% vaccination rate are eligible to receive the COVID Stops Here designation. There are separate designations for companies that reach 80% and then 90% vaccination rates.

The campaign just started and more than 50 organizations have already applied to be designated.

Missouri’s Chamber said some of those companies already exist. Life Unlimited is one of them.

CEO Julie Edlund and her crew earned a Gold Standard, which means they have a 90% vaccination rate.

“Because we work with people with developmental disabilities, the people we support have higher risk of complications and or death if they get covid. So for us it was really important,” Edlund said.

Life Unlimited supports a thousand people who have developmental disabilities, helping them live as independently as possible.

Widespread vaccination allows them to get back to the good stuff like, “seeing happy faces and playing cards,” Greg Medley said.

The campaign calls on employers across the state to talk to employees about the importance of being vaccinated. It also encourages businesses to hold vaccination events at the workplace.

Elund said they did that at the beginning of the year.

Life Unlimited partnered with CVS and help their own vaccination clinics talking with and educating staff.

“We had some employees really nervous about getting vaccinations. We held some hands and people were really, really worried – it was back in January,” Edlund said. “But I think by putting others first and realizing that this is a worldly crisis that people still are dying. And the only way to keep safe and healthy is to do our part and that is to get vaccinated.”

The message comes at a time when Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services said the number of new COVID-19 cases have more than doubled in less than three weeks.

“You want to get vaccinated to keep yourself safe, but it’s also for other people,” Edlund said. “So, employees that work here so they have a natural heart that really is big, and huge. And our vaccination rate is so high because we just care about other people.”

According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the state has recorded 540,189 cumulative cases of SARS-CoV-2 — an increase of 8,375 positive cases (PCR testing only) — and 9,463 total deaths as of Thursday, July 15, an increase of 75 this week.

Please keep in mind that not all cases and deaths recorded occurred in the last 24 hours.

Approximately 2.45 million people have completed the vaccination process in Missouri; 56.3% of all adults 18 years of age and older have initiated the process. The state has administered 61,819 doses of vaccine in the last 7 days (this metric is subject to a delay, meaning the last three days are not factored in). The highest vaccination rates are among people over 65.

If you are hoping to get a vaccine, most retail pharmacies, county health departments and hospitals are providing the shots. Many offer walk-in options.

“If we’re waiting for someone else to do it, it’s not going to happen,” Edlund said. “It starts with us individually and collectively and as a group.”

Workplaces who qualify are sent a toolkit to help them promote that they have achieved widespread vaccination in their workplace.

Apply here:

COVID Stops Here – Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Life Unlimited – Liberty – North Kansas City

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