ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOV.com) - The need for volunteer vaccinators continues to grow as the number of administered vaccines in St. Louis County continues to set records.
A spokesperson for the county's health department said in the last seven days, 18,000 doses have been administered by the health department. Looking ahead, within the next week, the county expects to administer an additional 21,000 doses.
Since it first began administering vaccines, the health department estimates its administered more than 85,000 doses. However, as supply increases, so does the need for volunteer vaccinators, according to the health department. Several people reached out to News 4 on Monday night, after long lines at one of the county's vaccine clinics proved hours long.
"When we got off the highway, we could see the large crowds at Flo Valley," said Linda Sayre, who helped set up an appointment for her boyfriend.
As Sayre got closer to the parking lot, she said she saw several hundred people waiting in line outside of the community college's gym where the vaccination event was taking place.
"They were orchestrated in four lines based on your time slot," she said. "So each line was separated by 10 minute increments."
With little movement, she said many people began getting frustrated, with some getting out of line all together. Volunteers, she said, were left to diffuse situations with irritated and frustrated people in line.
"Some people were sitting down at the picnic tables instead of waiting in line, several people brought chairs, they had already thought this through," she said. "We had not since we had an appointment."
After two hours, Sayre said her boyfriend made it back to the car and they were able to leave. Grateful he was able to get the vaccine, she said she plans to look elsewhere when it comes time to get the second dose.
"I don't know, I figured we'd be in and out because everyone I talk to that goes to these is in and out in 30 or 45 minutes," she said.
The county's health department said a shortage of vaccinators caused the backup and volunteers had a tough time recovering.
"We have ebbs and flows in our staffing and we really watch it carefully to make sure we get people in and out in a timely manner," said Christopher Ave with the Health Department. "In this instance, we didn't do that and we're very sorry for those folks who had to wait."
Ave said the need for volunteer vaccinators continues to grow and those interested in helping out can find out how to do so at www.stlcorona.com.
"It's a big lift, it's a lot of doses, a lot of administration," he said. "We need a lot of vaccinators to handle that kind of capacity."
Ave added of the 17 or 18 county-run vaccine clinics, response has been overwhelmingly positive.