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Hannibal Regional begins next phase of vaccine distribution

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HANNIBAL (WGEM) -- Thousands of people 65 and over or with health conditions got the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Hannibal Wednesday.

People lined up at at Hannibal Regional Healthcare group to get their shots.

Administrators said if you haven't gotten yours yet, they're working on it,

"Number wise, that means that we're likely going to vaccinate 7000 folks here in Hannibal Healthcare System this week," said Hannibal Regional Healthcare System President and CEO Todd Ahrens.

A big yellow sign out front of the healthcare group entrance is just one of many telling people where to go for the vaccine.

Ahrens said putting this first day of Phase 1b Tier 2 vaccinations together was a challenge, but by Friday they'll have all the first doses they have on hand in people's arms.

"It takes a huge man and woman power situation to get that done, and so you know we have a lot of volunteers as well their staff that have quit doing their day to day jobs in order to help us meet that demand, you know, and I think today's our highest point we're vaccinating probably 1800 folks," said Ahrens.

Now Hannibal Regional officials said they're working to get anybody else who wants the vaccine ready for when they receive more vaccines from the state.

Jessica Gilmore, Director of Quality and Pharmacy, said getting these vaccines to people is a big moment.

"It's had a lot of people who have expressed a lot of gratitude and there have been tears of joy and it's just really been a wonderful day in here today," said Gilmore.

But she said the next step is getting their order for more vaccines approved by the state.

"So we're going to open up more spots as soon as the state allows for more vaccines to be distributed to the hospitals," said Gilmore.

They said if their order is approved, they could see more vaccines as early as Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.

"As soon as we know we're getting those we will get back to opening up the phone lines and in communicating with the folks in the region that will have some vaccines available," said Ahrens.

Gilmore said if you have any questions about the vaccine, staff will be very willing to help answer any questions you have when you call to have the vaccine scheduled.

She said the mRNA vaccine from Pfizer they're using is a revolutionary technology that in some ways in more simple than vaccines you may be familiar with.

"There is very little in the vaccine itself so it doesn't contain a lot of those ingredients that a lot of our other vaccines contain that people sometimes get nervous about it's not like the flu vaccine it doesn't contain egg products so there's no safety concerns there if you have an egg allergy," said Gilmore.

If you're 65 or over or have a health condition in the Northeast Missouri region, they say to give them a call for more information at (573) 629-3570.

Frank Healy

Multimedia Journalist at WGEM

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