By Nate Blackford, Mosaic Medical Center – Maryville president

On Monday of this week, the State of Missouri’s expanded list of those eligible to receive the COVID vaccine went into effect. The newly expanded group, referred to “Phase 1B – Tier 3” by the state, includes the following occupations and industries: K-12 education, communications infrastructure, dams sector, energy sector, food and agriculture sector one, government, information technology, nuclear reactor sector, transportation systems and water and wastewater systems.

As we move toward general availability for all Missourians, we continue to provide opportunities for those that meet the criteria to receive the vaccine.

Also on March 15, we held our seventh community vaccination event along with our partners, Northwest Missouri State University and the Nodaway County Health Department, at the Hughes Fieldhouse on the Northwest campus. At the event, 57 individuals received their second dose and 600 received their first dose.

In total, we have now administered 5,000 doses of the vaccine to just over 3,000 individuals. At last check, this effort has resulted in Nodaway County being in the top 15 percent of all Missouri counties for vaccine administration.

Beyond the data, it has been rewarding to see the joy and happiness on people’s faces. To many, the vaccine offers hope and the opportunity to reunite with loved ones, friends and family. It provides freedom to move about the community and do things they have not been able to do for months. And that is exactly the reason why we host these events.

Ask anyone who has volunteered. The stories of hope and appreciation have been amazing to hear and serve as our collective motivation to continue to offer these community events.

I also want to thank those of you that have reached out asking how you can help. Several of you have donated your time and energy. Several of you have brought food and treats for our volunteers. One of you drove from Kansas City to bring us 10 dozen donuts and volunteer your time. I have said this often, but we are fortunate to be part of such a great community.

For those interested in signing up for our next event or would like additional information, please visit

Your stories, and donuts, keep us going.