ST. LOUIS ( -- Just over 700 people made appointments for the first day of a federally-run mass vaccination site in downtown St. Louis, a far cry from the 3,000 doses per day FEMA officials say they're capable of administering.

As of Thursday morning, just 285 appointments were made -- a significantly smaller total from Wednesday's event which saw 713 appointments. Walk-ins are still welcomed. FEMA officials expect to have a final tally when the day's vaccinations are complete.

"Some of it is confusion," said Deanna Fraizer, a spokesperson for FEMA. "They're being told to sign up on the city site, the county site and now the state's vaccine navigator so it can be confusing on where to turn."

Fraizer said once all tiers become eligible in Missouri on Friday, appointments will likely pick up. The low number of appointments meant the process was smooth for those who did receive their vaccine.

"It was super quick and easy," said Brett, who received his vaccine Wednesday morning. "All I had to do was sign up and get scheduled, walk in and they kind of directed me everywhere I needed to go. I was in and out within five or 10 minutes it was really nice."

"I was anticipating long lines, a lot of confusion, a lot of bureaucracy, but it was absolutely none of that," added Maria Falconer. "They get you in, they get you out and you can go along with your day."

250 people have been assigned to the eight-week event, including 140 sailors from the Department of Defense and 65 FEMA employees. The event will run seven days a week from 8a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Dome downtown. 

The first three weeks will consist of Pfizer doses and the following three weeks will be  Pfizer booster shots. The final two weeks of the event, scheduled for late May, will offer the J&J vaccine.

FEMA officials told News 4 anyone who received their first dose of Pfizer elsewhere can receive their booster shot at the Dome. All they have to do is bring their vaccination card with them. Walk-ins are recommended, as FEMA and the state of Missouri are still working out details to ensure the Vaccine Navigator and call centers are relaying correct information. 

Upon entering The Dome, patients have their temperature taken and proceed to the second floor concourse where a group of 20 vaccinators are stationed to administer doses. Following a vaccination, patients wait in an observation room for 15 to 30 minutes.

FEMA hopes to administer 168,000 doses over the course of the eight-week event. The site is one of 25 around the country selected by FEMA based on CDC data that suggests a large number of people in the city do not have regular access to healthcare.

Copyright 2021 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved


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