By Nate Blackford, Mosaic Medical Center – Maryville president

It’s often been said, “Maryville is a special place.” And it is indeed, for many reasons. But there are certain times when the Maryville community comes together and it’s “extra special.” That happened again this week.

On Tuesday, the Nodaway County Health Department, Northwest Missouri State University, and Mosaic Medical Center – Maryville came together to offer our first, of what will be several, mass COVID-19 vaccination events. In the end, over 700 community members received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. That in itself should be celebrated.

However, it was the way everyone came together on short notice to make the event a reality, and “extra special.” We had just over one week to plan, collaborate, organize, communicate, recruit and ultimately execute the event. It was complete team effort by all three organizations, and dozens of volunteers, who all had their own “day jobs” to work around.

The health department took care of getting people signed up to receive the vaccine. The university provided the Hughes Fieldhouse, logistical and facility support, and student volunteers. The hospital provided the lead event organizer, clinical resources and vaccine management. But from the start it was one team with one goal: to get vaccines in arms as fast as possible.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t thank those who received the vaccination on Tuesday. We sincerely appreciate your willingness to be first. While your feedback was overwhelmingly positive, we will be implementing a few minor changes, based on your recommendations, next time to help the process go even more smoothly.

And, it was so much fun to see the hope in people’s eyes, and hear it in their words. Many of those that received the vaccine Tuesday have been mostly home, and at times alone, for the past several months. A few participants were moved to tears talking about how the vaccine will ultimately allow them to see their friends and family again soon.

Now that hard part… doing it again and again until everyone who wants the vaccine gets it. The rate and speed we can move forward will depend solely on how quickly the feds and state will, or can, get vaccines in our hands. That will be our biggest challenge, getting timely allotments of the vaccine.

So what comes next?

Not surprisingly, over 2,500 individuals have signed up indicating they would like the vaccine. As we work through the list of names already submitted, we are pausing our current sign up process via the Nodaway County Health Department. We are doing so to focus on getting those already on the list, and eligible based on state criteria, scheduled to receive their vaccine. At the same time, we are also closely monitoring the allotment coming from the state.

Rest assured we will move forward as quickly as possible. However, the current demand for vaccines is greater than the current supply available. In addition, we are working on an automated process to assist with scheduling. Ideally, we would like to have at least one vaccine event each week, but we will have to be flexible based on the supply. Please stay tuned to local media outlets for more details or follow along on our social media pages for timely updates.

I am proud to be part of this extra special community.


Important note: As a reminder, there are currently two different vaccine manufactures providing the vaccine: Pfizer and Moderna. In the coming weeks, the vaccine will be offered in additional locations, that being pharmacies, events organized by the government, etc. To ensure an adequate supply of the vaccine, it’s ideal that you receive your second vaccine from the same group, whether hospital, pharmacy, organization, etc., as your first. Thanks in advance for your assistance.