WARRENSBURG, Mo. — The first public COVID-19 vaccine clinic in the Kansas City area welcomed patients on Friday.
More than 300 senior citizens walked into the Warrensburg Community Center, and a few minutes later walked out with the first dose of the COVID vaccine in their arms. It’s the beginning of a massive effort to get the public protected from this virus.
One by one, seniors age 65 and older stepped up to get checked in.
Patrick Bradley was ready to be among the first of the general public in the greater Kansas City area public to get the COVID shot. The moment means a lot to the 65-year-old grandfather.
“It feels really good and just hope we can get the rest of the community to be receiving the vaccine,” Bradley said.
In November, his 79-year-old brother, Hubert, died in an Iowa nursing home from COVID-19.
“The first week he tested, he was negative and then all the sudden he got it. Then four, five days later — that was it,” Bradley said.
Two days after that, his cousin also died from the virus.
He’s incredibly grateful that under Missouri’s Phase 1B, Johnson County, Missouri’s Community Health Services is now getting the COVID shot to seniors like him.
“This is an exciting day. We’ve been moving towards this day for so long,” said Mary Thaut, Johnson County, Missouri, Community Health administrator.
The health department recently finished up its Phase 1A recipients. Once the state green-lighted the next phase, a mass vaccine clinic was put together fast.
For Thaut and her staff, it feels like a weight beginning to lift after nearly a year of seeing the pandemic ravage the community.
“It does take an emotional toll. Some of those nurses I’m talking to, they’re tearful and just hate seeing that. The last thing we want to do is lose people,” Thaut said.
That risk now starts to be lowered, as hundreds here get the vaccine. They’ll be even more protected with a second dose in three weeks.
The health department hopes to continue getting weekly shipments of the vaccine and may hold the next clinic as early as next week.