Hutton weighs in on vaccines in Cooper County with cases going down

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News
Cooper County Public Health Center Director Melanie Hutton said COVID-19 cases have gone down steadily since January in the area. Hutton said the county has administered over 7,000 doses of either Pfizer or Moderna to the public.

Cooper County Public Health Center Director Melanie Hutton said as more and more vaccines become available, the county will see more clinics in small rural areas for people in need.

Since the first shot of Pfizer was administered back on January 20, Hutton said the clinic has administered 7,969 does of which 150 have been Moderna and the rest Pfizer. 

Hutton, however, noted that cases are way down since the clinic started administering shots. Since April 1, Hutton said Cooper County currently has only five cases of COVID-19 and has steadily declined since with 293 cases in January, 56 in February and 31 in March.

“I feel like we could do more,” Hutton said of administering doses. “They just approved 12 and up could get shots for Pfizer. I don’t know if that’s Missouri’s plan yet, but things are changing sometimes daily, sometimes weekly. What is going on today may not be happening tomorrow, but it’s all getting better with the changes and more and more access is coming.”

Hutton said while big cities such as Springfield, Columbia and Jefferson City now have walk in clinics that are just getting started, they’re reducing of guard clinics except in the big cities. She said right now they are doing stationary clinics that are being manned five days a week, where there’s big parking. 

“The goal is to get as many people vaccinated in the city so they don’t have to drive so far out into the rural community,” Hutton said. “They’re just trying to make it more available across the board.”

However, in Cooper County, the number of doses administered is inching closer to the halfway point with over 7,969 shots given out of 17,709 people in the county. 

March was also a busy month for clinics, which started with 1,059 doses administered at Isle of Capri Casino in Boonville on March 22 and another 1,071 on March 23. 

In addition to clinics at Isle of Capri Casino in Boonville, Hutton said clinics have also been held at Rolling Hills Park in Boonville, St. Matthews AME Church in Boonville, Blackwater, Otterville and at the CCPHC in Boonville. 

Hutton said by the end of the March 22 and 23 clinics at Isle of Capri Casino, the CCPHC had done almost two years worth of vaccinations in basically two months. 

“You consider even with our temporary staff, we’re still a very small office,” Hutton said, “and even though we’ve had volunteers from lots of sources and community, whether it’s the city services and all our volunteers in Cooper County and EMA, it’s still huge. For everybody to work together, and pull off really smooth clinics, there's been hiccups but people aren't aware of them.”

Hutton said she just received word that once all the current scheduled mass vaccine clinics with the guard are completed in April, the guard will be redistributed around the state, but a certain amount will become available to help at smaller clinics in smaller groups of seven guard members. She said they will not come with vaccine as they did with 2,000 dose clinics. “We only have access to small amounts of vaccine, where 13 counties share 1,000 doses,” Hutton said.

In the upcoming days, Boonville will have administered another 300 people for the Pfizer vaccine at Rolling Hills Park. Meanwhile, on Tuesday, April 20, 100 doses will be administered in Prairie Home from 9-11 a.m. Bunceton will also have 100 doses available on Thursday, April 22 from 9-11 a.m.

Hutton said these two clinics in Prairie Home and Bunceton will be walk-in only, where people register at the city hall, and will be the Moderna vaccine. 

With so many people getting either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccination, Hutton said she would like to address people  in childbearing ages that are not getting the shot. 

“It's sad that they're taking that risk,” Hutton said. “In fact, I gave the advice to someone today that there's more toxic chemicals in your food and out in the atmosphere than what could be anything harmful in this vaccine. If you were to squirt out the vaccine in a syringe into a spoon and see that micro, it's a drop. It’s not even a teaspoonful, it's like an eighth of a teaspoon of vaccine and the volume is so small. 

“If you consider the mercury in tuna, people don't pay much attention, but there's limits on catfish and the fish that you eat out of the river due to PCBs, and then tuna in mercury. They’ve found where particulate matter in the air gets into the woman's womb, so you're talking exhaust, farming, and CAFOs. They're finding those things in women's amniotic fluid. I would get both shots, because you would have that immunity to help confer to you and your baby, then after you give birth, you're going to have that immunity in your breast milk to give to those babies.”

Hutton said the hope is that as vaccine supplies increase that the CCPHC can administer the doses by appointment at the office. “We hope by the end of the month, we’ll be able to have our vaccine supply,” Hutton said. “Right now, we have vaccine supplies for just the three clinics scheduled.”