As Missouri moves to its final phase of vaccine distribution, doctors say the pandemic is not over

COVID-19 vaccine clinic
Posted at 3:52 PM, Apr 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 18:27:04-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — James and Lucy Holt were thrilled to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday.

“Everything was fine, just went over there, pulled my sleeve up, got that good ole injection in there and I believe everything’s going to be okay now," James Holt, an Independence resident, said.

After months of waiting and some hesitancy, the couple went together. Aside from getting married on Sunday, this was the second most exciting day this year for the newlyweds.

“I know it’s a safe procedure and for our own wellness, it’s important, vital, to talk the injection," Lucy Holt said.

COVID-19 vaccine distribution began in Missouri back in December for health care workers and long-term care facilities. Now, the state is ready to open eligibility to all residents on April 9.

“I think it just is a testament to improved vaccine supply, health care workers and public health working together to have vaccine opportunities," Dr. Sarah Boyd, infectious disease physician at Saint Luke's Health System, said.

Moving to the final phase of the state's vaccination plan comes as a relief to many Missourians who navigated vaccine websites and signed up on several lists, patiently waiting for their turn.

“There may be a little bit of a wait for folks early on but we’re getting more and more vaccines and I think we hear stories of appointments that go unfilled, even today in certain areas of the state," Dr. Mark Steele, executive chief clinical officer at Truman Medical Center, said. "So I think it won’t be too long before I think anybody should be able to get a vaccine pretty easily without much of a wait."

Kansas City area doctors told 41 Action News that entering the last phase does not mean we've reached the end of the pandemic.

Deciding when to lift restrictions like masks and social distancing in public places would be determined by public health officials.

“It’s going to be dependent on what we’re seeing on the ground, are cases remaining low," Steele said. "We’d like to see them even lower than where they are today and also, how much of our population are we able to get vaccinated. So I think obviously they’ll be paying close attention to those things as they make those decisions."

It's one step forward in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic people like Holt's say things are looking up.

“We believe everything’s going to be okay," James Holt said.