In St. Louis County, a surplus of COVID vaccine and appointments

The district health department is trying to fill 1,600 open appointments on Thursday and 200 more on Friday.

CLAYTON, MO. – After weeks of not having enough vaccines, St. Louis County suddenly has more shots than people trying to fill appointments.

“As of this afternoon, we had about 1,600 appointments open for tomorrow, and that goes for all locations in St. Louis County,” said Sara Dayley of the St. Louis County Health Department on Wednesday.

Dayley said the county has opened an additional 200 for Friday at various clinic locations from Eureka to Pattonville to Flo Valley and Bridgeton.

“A number of different locations and you can choose which one works best for you,” said Dayley.

Do the vacant appointments mean St. Louis County will reach a point where demand will wane before enough people are vaccinated to fully protect the community?

“I don’t think so,” said Dayley. “I think there are just a lot of people who need to have the timing right.”

On Wednesday, federal officials celebrated 10,000 shots fired in the FEMA-conducted operation in the dome at America’s Center in downtown St. Louis. The program is aimed at residents of the city and county of St. Louis.

“FEMA is thrilled to have the vaccine in the arms of St. Louisans,” said FEMA spokeswoman Deanna Frazier.

But eight days into the scheduled eight-week event, the vaccination rate is still less than half what FEMA says – 3,000 shots a day.

The head of the region’s pandemic task force says it’s too early to worry that not enough people want the shot to take full effect.

Dr. Alex Garza says there are still people who can’t travel to clinics that have vaccines working. And children under the age of 16 did not yet have access.

“I suspect that … by this time next month we can handle the number of people vaccinated much better … what the hesitation looks like,” said Garza. “And then focus on getting more people vaccinated.”

Frazier, the FEMA spokesman, said if the numbers at the dome event dwindle, “there could be some kind of asset redeployment.”

“But I don’t see that because … our leadership says we feel obliged to be here for eight weeks,” said Frazier.

She says people can “go up” the dome in about 30 minutes, register, get the shot, and walk out the door.

Anyone wishing to register for one of the open vaccine appointments through the St. Louis County Health Department can register at stlcorona.com or directly through this link.

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