CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Hundreds of people who traveled from the St. Louis area to Cape Girardeau to get the COVID-19 vaccine did not show up for their second dose.
Maria Davis with the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center said a high percentage of people who live in Cape Girardeau County returned to the same clinic they received their first shot to get their second shot.
“Ultimately, we have been seeing a good return rate,” said Davis. “We’re still seeing those people coming back, and those are Cape County residents specifically.”
However, Davis said that’s not always the case for people who travel to Cape Girardeau from the St. Louis area.
“Especially now since the vaccine is becoming more available, specifically in the St. Louis area,” she said.
For example, the Cape Girardeau County Health Center partnered with the Missouri National Guard to hold a mass vaccination clinic on March 1.
According to Davis, about 2,000 people received their first dose that day, but about 400 people did not show up to get their second shot at the second dose clinic.
“The majority of those individuals were from the St. Louis area, and so I think that we didn’t see as many come back, because they were getting that second dose in St. Louis,” said Davis.
At Park Pharmacy in Cape Girardeau, Pharmacist Elizabeth Pham said she has not dealt second dose no-shows.
“As far as what I do here at Park with the Pfizer vaccine, I haven’t had any trouble trying to get people who got their first dose coming back here for their second dose.”
Pham said she does see patients travel from St. Louis to Cape Girardeau to get the shot as well.
“I’m just happy that people are out there getting the vaccine. Honestly even if they didn’t come to me to get their second dose, I would just be happy to know that they got it somewhere else,” said Pham. “This vaccine is a life saver for a lot of people, and it’s one step closer for us trying to get back to normal. So, I’m just happy that people are out there just trying to get this vaccine and doing what they can to get it.”
The Director of Operations at Johns Pharmacy said the majority of people who travel from St. Louis to Cape Girardeau ask for the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine, so they only need to make one trip.
Even though hundreds of folks from out of town did not return for their second dose, the leftover doses are still used.
“They are not wasted. They do come back to our region specifically, and then we kind of share them amongst our local vaccinators, so we can get them out as quickly as possible,” said Davis.
According to Davis, the vaccine doses from the clinics held in partnership with the Missouri National Guard do not come from the southeast Missouri region’s vaccine allocation. The state allocates separate vaccine for clinics with the Missouri National Guard.