ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KMOV.com) – The University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) campus hosted a mass vaccination clinic Saturday. The Missouri National Guard and St. Louis County Health Department partnered to vaccinate 2,340 people. This is one of the only National Guard events held this week that was not cancelled due to inclement weather.
Saturday's clinic was held at the university's Millennium Student Center from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Spring Schmidt, acting director for the St. Louis County Health Department said all doses came from the National Guard and it will not take away from the county’s weekly allotment. Rita Berk, 79-years-old, and Morris Berk, 81-years-old, from Creve Coeur were lucky enough to secure appointments. Morris, who has a pacemaker, insulin pump and suffers from pancreatic cancer said getting the first dose before an upcoming surgery is a huge relief.
“We’ve been really cautious about using the precautions and all and with the surgery coming up, that’s a major issue. so knowing we’re getting the vaccination really gives us a sense of relief,” he said.
About 30 Missouri National Guard members worked alongside staff from the St. Louis County Health Department and other volunteers to conduct the event. Captain Jeremy Idleman with the National Guard said this event was much larger than the others they’ve held in rural parts of the state.
“A lot more people, which is what we were concerned about, but it’s going really, really smoothly. The more rural areas you’re more restricted on space so at the UMSL campus, we’re blessed with big space, big parking lots, big open area, so because of that, it’s running very smoothly,” Idleman said.
Registration for the event was required, with those interested pre-registering on the state’s vaccine website, or calling their hotline at (877) 435-8411. Registering on the site just made someone a candidate for the event, it did not guarantee an appointment. Some who are pre-registered with the St. Louis County Health Department were selected for the event too.
“We don’t want them to be completely missed and not have this opportunity, but people who have been on our list for a while, we also want to make sure we are continuing to provide opportunities for them,” Schmidt said before the event.
The National Guard told News 4 it had to turn away at least 66 cars because people without appointments showed up.