In addition to buying fair food, concert tickets and souvenirs, fairgoers will also have the opportunity to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine while visiting the Missouri State Fair.
At the request of the Missouri State Fair Commission, the Pettis County Health Center, Bothwell Regional Health Center and Katy Trail Community Health will be administering vaccines from 4 to 7 p.m. Aug. 12-21 outside of Section 111 in the Mathewson Exhibition Center.
“The Missouri State Fair Commission has been supportive of our community’s efforts to meet the challenges of COVID throughout the year by providing locations for both testing and vaccination clinics on the fairgrounds,” Mark Wolfe, Missouri State Fair Director, told the Democrat via email. “Partnering with our local health agencies to offer a convenient opportunity for fairgoers who may be interested in receiving a vaccine or even just learning more about the vaccine seemed like a logical next step.
“Just a few months ago, people were really thinking COVID was going away when the vaccines became available, but obviously, there’s been a turnaround in that and people are concerned — and rightfully so,” he continued. “We don’t want the fair to be dominated by that conversation, but at the same time we thought as a public service we had the opportunity to set up and offer information and the chance to get a vaccination.”
Pettis County Health Center Administrator JoAnn Martin said doses of Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson will be available. She noted Johnson & Johnson, which is one dose, may be the best option for people who can’t seek out the second dose of Pfizer. If someone opts for the first dose of Pfizer, health care workers on-site can use the state vaccine finder to identify a vaccine location closest to their hometown.
“There will be people who will be coming to the fair from parts of the state where perhaps they don’t have as easy access to the vaccine as we do in Pettis County. There are parts of the state where health care resources are very limited and people have to travel a long distance,” Martin explained. “By having vaccine available at the fair, that facilitates people being able to access that vaccine.”
Martin said this is not the first time the Health Center has been involved on the fairgrounds. The Health Center initiated a program in 2019 to provide the Hepatitis A vaccine during the fair. She said it was targeted to workers who travel with the carnival since they live in close quarters and move frequently, but anyone was able to receive a vaccine.
Also in 2019, the Health Center was requested to provide information about public health issues in the Home Economics building during the fair.
“We’ve always worked closely with the fair director and staff looking at how we can provide information about wash your hands, these are the areas that might be some communicable disease concerns, help get signs and information for various places,” Martin added. “We’ve done that for a really long time, but the last few years, we’ve worked even more closely.”
Martin said there is no cost for the vaccine. She added that people with questions can also speak with health care professionals from the three agencies. They can also help people find a vaccine clinic closer to home.
She said it will be helpful for people wanting the vaccine to bring an ID to help the registration process, but no appointments are needed. All information will be entered into ShowMeVax, the statewide database that tracks immunizations. If a person needs their COVID vaccine information later, their county health department can access it.
“We want to make this available to our community and make it as easily accessible as possible,” Martin said. “The number of COVID cases in Missouri has continued to increase and this is our effort to help bring those numbers down.”
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Thursday, August 12, 2021 Report this