Springfield-Greene County health leaders turn to the faith community to push COVID-19 vaccines

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Springfield-Greene County health leaders turned to the faith community on Monday to push COVID-19 vaccines as cases spike in the area.

The health department and James River Church teamed up for a vaccination clinic at its campus in west Springfield. It is the first of several at the church’s campuses in Springfield and Joplin. Faith leaders at James River Church and Central Assembly of God church in Springfield hope to persuade other churches to hold vaccination clinics. They say it is urgent as cases spike.

“We wanna be part of the solution, not the problem,” said Central Assembly of God Pastor David Jayne in pointing out that vaccinations would allow churches to get back to full congregational settings. “We want to make sure that we have the opportunity to worship and meet like we want to. But for me one of the main things is to get rid of these pesky masks.”

Two weeks ago health leaders reported a 38% increase in the spread of COVID-19 in Greene County. At the end of this past week, new cases increased by 73%.

“Our community has unfortunately spent the last several weeks in the national spotlight.” said Springfield-Greene County Health Department Interim Director Katie Towns. “There have been more than 1,600 cases of COVID cases in July alone here in Greene County. Our community is seeing COVID units reopened, children being put on ventilators and so many cases that our staff can barely keep up with the investigations.”

Springfield Mayor Ken McClure was also at the Monday news briefing held at the vaccine clinic and said he understood that the public was going through COVID-19 fatigue.

“I know you’re tired. I’m tired. We’re all tired,” he said. “But make no mistake. We have the collective power to stop this virus but we just can’t overcome it without getting a large portion of our community vaccinated. Local doctors will tell you that the surge of COVID-19 in our community is directly related to our vaccine rates. We are truly in a very dangerous predicament.”

That’s why a federal surge response team has arrived in Springfield to try and formulate a plan to stem that rising surge in cases and the low vaccination rates (around 40 percent) that lag behind both state and national levels.

That federal surge response team consists of one member in Springfield and another working remotely to go over data and decide on a plan of action.

McClure said as far as he’s concerned bringing back a mask mandate is not an option.

“We don’t need to be spending time trying to enforce a mask mandate which I believe at this time is unenforceable,” he said.

But it was revealed by Towns at the Monday news briefing that the controversial door-to-door solicitation approach (that Governor Mike Parson didn’t want the federal government involved in when they came to Missouri) has already been done using local officials. Towns said the Greene County Health Department has used it many times before such as during a Hepatitis outbreak and recently during the COVID-19 pandemic before the feds arrived.

“The door-to-door approach is an age-old public health practice,” Towns explained. “We have used door-to-door representatives for years and will continue to do so. So people who look just like us from the communities we serve will be showing up to possibly talk about vaccine, to answer questions or to inform about clinics that might be within somebody’s vicinity. We call our door-to-door people ‘community health advocates’ and it’s a good, sound public health practice where we can meet people where they are.”

But the politicization of the vaccine process continues to be the elephant in the room.

Just as masks and door-to-door solicitation has become politicized, getting the vaccine has become polarizing along party-lines as well. At the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas this weekend, crowds cheered when it was announced the government wasn’t reaching its vaccination goals.

When asked about that incident at Monday’s news briefing Towns teared up and her voice became shaky.

“It breaks my heart quite honestly,” she said. “To hear people are cheering against a tool that can save lives when we’re sitting in the middle of a crisis where people are dying. It breaks my heart.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci was also asked about the CPAC reaction as well during an interview on CNN.

“It’s horrifying,” Fauci answered. “They’re cheering about someone saying that it’s a good thing for people not to try and save their lives. I just don’t get that and I don’t think anybody who’s thinking clearly can get that.”

Below is a list of vaccination opportunities in Greene County.

Tuesday, July 13

  • Community Blood Center of the Ozarks (SGCHD) 220 W. Farm Road 182 from 8-10 a.m. Vaccine offered: Pfizer (ages 12+) or Johnson & Johnson (ages 18+)
  • James River Church North (JVCHC) – 3225 N. Farm Road 123 from 10 a.m.-2p.m. Vaccine offered: Pfizer (ages 12+), Moderna (ages 18+) or Johnson & Johnson (ages 18+)
  • Woodfield Park Apartments (SGCHD) – 2759 E. Pythian from 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Vaccine offered: Pfizer (ages 12+) or Johnson & Johnson (ages 18+)
  • Oakwood Place Apartments, Republic (SGCHD) – 810 N. Oakwood Ave, Republic from 6-7 p.m. Vaccine offered: Pfizer (ages 12+) or Johnson & Johnson (ages 18+)

ADVERTISEMENT

Wednesday, July 14

  • Strafford Senior Center (JVCHC) – 201 W. Bumgarner Blvd., Strafford from 8-10 a.m. Vaccine offered: Pfizer (ages 12+) or Johnson & Johnson (ages 18+)
  • Westside Health Department (SGCHD) – 660 S. Scenic from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Vaccine offered: Pfizer (ages 12+), Moderna (ages 18+) or Johnson & Johnson (ages 18+)
  • James River Church Ozark (JVCHC) – 6100 N. 19th St., Ozark from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Vaccine offered: Pfizer (ages 12+), Moderna (ages 18+) or Johnson & Johnson (ages 18+)
  • Price Cutter (SGCHD) – 712 W. Commercial St. from 3-5 p.m. Vaccine offered: Moderna (ages 18+) or Johnson & Johnson (ages 18+)

Thursday, July 15

  • Springfield Fire Station #1 (SGCHD) – 720 E. Grand from 1-4 p.m. Vaccine offered: Pfizer (ages 12+) or Johnson & Johnson (ages 18+)

ADVERTISEMENT

Friday, July 16

  • Asian World Market (JVCHC) – 2904 S. Campbell Ave. from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Vaccine offered: Pfizer (ages 12+), Moderna (ages 18+) or Johnson & Johnson (ages 18+)
  • Hotel Vandivort (SGCHD) – 305 E. Walnut St. from 1-3 p.m. Vaccine offered: Pfizer (ages 12+) or Johnson & Johnson (ages 18+)
  • Price Cutter (SGCHD) – 1831 W. Kearney from 3-5 p.m. Vaccine offered: Moderna (ages 18+) or Johnson & Johnson (ages 18+)

Saturday, July 17

  • Dickerson Park Zoo (SGCHD) – 1401 W. Norton from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Vaccine offered: Pfizer (ages 12+) or Johnson & Johnson (ages 18+)
  • Hope and Anchor Church (JVCHC) – 2216 W. College St. from 9-11 a.m. Vaccine offered: Pfizer (ages 12+), Moderna (ages 18+) or Johnson & Johnson (ages 18+)
  • Farmers Market of the Ozarks (SGCHD) – 2144 E. Republic Rd. from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Vaccine offered: Pfizer (ages 12+)
  • C-Street Farmers Market (JVCHC) – 321 E. Commercial St. from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Vaccine offered: Pfizer (ages 12+), Moderna (ages 18+) or Johnson & Johnson (ages 18+)

These opportunities are in addition to the recurring vaccination clinics at Jordan Valley Community Health Center’s Benton Clinic at 618 N. Benton. Jordan Valley is offering walk-in vaccinations for Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m., with extended hours on Tuesday from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. COVID-19 vaccines are also available by appointment or walk-in through CoxHealth and Mercy Hospital Springfield.

A list of these events and additional opportunities can be found at vaccine417.com or by calling (417) 874-1211.

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com

Copyright 2021 KY3. All rights reserved.

Scroll to Top