(KMOV.com) - Local health departments will begin to pivot away from mass vaccination events in the coming weeks as demand for the coronavirus vaccine continues to drop nationwide.
On Monday, officials with the St. Clair County Health Department announced the mass vaccination site at the Belle-Clair Fairgrounds will close at the end of May, after opening on February 1. The department sites low demand, stating it was giving out more than 3,000 doses a day at its peak and is now seeing fewer than 1,000 people a day. St. Louis County currently offers three mass vaccination events and the health department will likely scale back those events in the coming weeks and months.
With the steep decline, mass vaccination sites, like the Belle-Clair Fairgrounds site in Belleville, will shutter soon.
"I think we're at that pivot point now that we have to switch tactics to more hyper local microtargeting," said St. Louis Health Department Director Dr. Faisal Khan. "So, you will likely see the number of mass vaccination events decrease significantly over time."
St. Charles County officials announced a mass vaccination event will take place this Friday from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. at the GM Wentzville Assembly Plant. Lincoln County, Warren County and the National Guard are also assisting.
"We'll find out if there's demand," said St. Charles County Health Director Demetri Cianci-Chapman. "We have the ability to give out thousands of doses at the event, but so far only a few hundred people are signed up."
Cianci-Chapman said St. Charles County will be discontinuing some of its mass vaccination events as soon as those who are scheduled for a second dose are taken care of.
"It's happening sooner than I anticipated because I thought that based on how vocal the community was in wanting the vaccine early on, I didn't think we'd turn to this place to having more vaccine than arms to put it in this quickly," she said.
The Jefferson County Health Department said it is currently discussing how to move forward with its vaccination effort. It has several second-dose mass events in Festus this month, but said it is beginning to role out mobile units in a more targeted approach.
The FEMA mass vaccination event at the Dome has administered around 26,000 doses since it opened on April 7. A spokesperson said the event averages about 1,000 doses a day. The event will also serve as a safety net for those considering getting the vaccine but who may miss out on the shrinking number of mass events elsewhere.
"At first I was skeptical about getting the vaccine, but then I decided to go ahead and get it," said Diane Anderson. "I'm trying to persuade other family members to get it, especially if they're sickly."
Others who returned for their second dose on Monday said they too needed a little convincing at the onset.
"Took a little persuasion and then I thought about it, I'm ex-military, we had shots before we went overseas so it can't be no worse," said Ramon Caldwell.
The FEMA event will continue to offer the Pfizer vaccine until the event concludes on June 1. Anyone is able to walk-in to receive their vaccine. If you're due for your second dose by the time the event ends, FEMA will help guide you to the next nearest vaccine clinic.