Health agency: Effort to vaccinate older school-age kids runs aground

By Buck Collier, Special Correspondent
Posted 10/6/21

HERMANN — The effort to vaccinate older school-age kids against the coronavirus has stalled, according to the top public health administrator in Gasconade County.

Gasconade County Health …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

Health agency: Effort to vaccinate older school-age kids runs aground

Posted

HERMANN — The effort to vaccinate older school-age kids against the coronavirus has stalled, according to the top public health administrator in Gasconade County.

Gasconade County Health Department Administrator Greg Lara last week told the agency’s Board of Trustees that the program to inoculate 12- to 17-year-old youths against the virus has run aground at 20.6 percent of the eligible group.

“I don’t see that growing real fast,” Lara said during the regular monthly board meeting via Zoom. Four of the five board members took part in the meeting; a fifth seat is vacant awaiting an appointment by the Gasconade County Commission.

For the of 12- to 17-year-olds in the county, Lara said 25.2 percent have received one of the two shots needed while 20.6 percent are fully vaccinated.

Those numbers compare with 44.2 percent of the county’s eligible general population receiving one shot and 40.7 percent of the general population being fully vaccinated.

The prospect of a booster shot against COVID remains at the forefront of public discussion. Indeed, minutes before the start of the board meeting at the health agency’s Hermann office, a local woman entered asking office manager Carla Schutt if the booster is available. The woman was told the booster is not yet available. That same message was given to the board members by Lara.

“We’re getting a lot of calls, but we can’t do a lot until we get the order from the state,” the administrator said. “We’re still waiting on word from the state on who falls into the booster group.”

In a status report on the virus’ effect in this county, Lara reported that Gasconade County has recorded a total of 70 deaths. There have been 84 breakthrough cases — COVID-19 infections among people fully vaccinated — with one or two of those requiring hospital treatment. That’s only six breakthrough cases more than was reported a week earlier, Lara said; however, he said that’s a significant number.

“Still, that’s a pretty good percentage” of the total vaccinated population in the county, about 1.4 percent of the total number of vaccinated residents.

Meanwhile, the as-yet-unidentified new administrator is on track to join the agency’s staff in the next couple weeks, Lara said, adding that he was hoping for a quick visit to the department offices to meet the staff in the coming days. Lara is retiring and plans to leave the agency after the first of the year, remaining on-site for a while to help his successor get settled into her new role.

The only information made available about the incoming administrator is that she is a local woman who is coming from another public health agency. Board President Stan Hall of rural Hermann said last week that a formal announcement on the new administrator would be made when she joins the staff.

Also new to the agency is Public Health Nurse Kristin Hemken, who succeeds Kelli Thompson. Thompson this fall took the post of school nurse at Hermann Elementary School after a stint with the Health Department.

Comments

No comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here