St. Charles County is prepared to transition to Phase 1B-Tier 3 of the State of Missouri vaccine distribution plan, County Executive Steve Ehlmann confirmed Tuesday. Governor Mike Parson announced last week that those in that tier, which includes teachers, officials and logistic and support staff in schools, would be added to the list of residents eligible for the COVID vaccine, effective March 15.
“Our Department of Public Health (DPH) staff has been working with private and public school officials to assist them with the pandemic since last summer,” says Ehlmann. “They’ve been meeting at least every two weeks, sometimes more often. We have a good working relationship with all the schools, and are ready, together, to move to this next vaccine tier.”
St. Charles County Public Health Director Demetrius Cianci-Chapman says he approached the school superintendents earlier this year to start planning for vaccinating at the schools. The County already had standing Points of Distribution, or PODS, agreements with five schools for use in emergency situations and will use those locations to vaccinate anyone who works for a private or public school in St. Charles County.
“Our staff will work in conjunction with their staff to hold clinics on Saturdays so as not to disrupt school,” Cianci-Chapman says. “And, we will add additional PODs at businesses and organizations that are critical infrastructure entities outlined in Phase 1B, Tier 3.”
Ehlmann says he is aware there are those in earlier tiers that have not yet received their vaccines. “We want to assure them we will not leave them behind by going to Tier 3. I know it is difficult to wait, but we are following the state’s plan, as we have from the beginning of the pandemic, and will continue to do that in the most fair and equitable way possible.”
St. Charles County Public Health Director Demetrius Cianci-Chapman says his staff is planning closed PODs in facilities where the elderly and compromised individuals live or receive treatment to continue to reach more people in Phase 1B, Tier 2. He says more than 120,000 people signed up on the County’s vaccine registration site.
“We already have vaccinated many of those in Tier 2,” Cianci-Chapman says, “and many have received vaccines elsewhere. Until we get through our registry and hear back from those who no longer want or need a vaccine from us, we won’t have an exact number how many still are left in that tier. We will keep working at it until all residents in St. Charles County who want a vaccine have had that opportunity.”
For more information about vaccination efforts in St. Charles County and to register through DPH, visit sccmo.org/COVIDvaccine.