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Pike County Health Department eagerly awaits for COVID-19 vaccine: 'It could be late February before we receive it'

"Sounds like our rural communities are last on the list to get it"

BOWLING GREEN, Mo. — The CDC is asking states to start vaccinating all people who are 65 and older.

The Trump administration also says it will no longer hold back required second doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

But as some move forward with the second shot, others haven't even gotten the first.

In rural areas like Pike County, it's a waiting game.

"We’re concerned. We are trying to wait patiently for the vaccine to arrive," Bowling Green Mayor Jim Arico said.

In Pike County, there's about 18,000 people and a third of them live in Bowling Green. 

"Bowling Green has a lot of elderly citizens and very susceptible, of course. We would like to have it available before now, but we’re patiently waiting," Arico added.

Beyond that, the city holds Northeast Correctional Center.

"We have a prison here also that is very concerned with the numbers increasing in our correctional facility," Arico said.

A spokesperson for the Pike County Health Department sent the following statement:

"We have put in our request to be a distributor of the vaccine but have heard nothing from the state yet as to when we can expect it. Sounds like our rural communities are last on the list to get it."

In an E-News Letter sent out by the Pike County Health Department, it said the below message:

"We have applied to be a distributor of the vaccine but we are unsure at this time when it will become available to our agency and anticipate that it could be late February before we receive it."

Credit: Pike County Health Department

The governor's office sent the following statement to 5 On Your Side:

"Missouri's ability to fill vaccine order requests is completely dependent on vaccine supply. However, it's possible the Pike County Health Department's vaccinator application is still pending approval."

Arico says he's spoke to people who are very interested in getting the vaccine.

"We really do have a positive attitude of the vaccine and what it will accomplish," he said.

But until they get it, he encourages everyone to continue practicing mitigation measures such as mask wearing and social distancing.

Once the Pike County Health Department receives the vaccine, it will distribute it under Missouri's COVID-19 Vaccination Distribution Phases.

Currently, the department does not have a waiting list for the vaccine.

According to the CDC, more than 25 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine has been delivered nationwide.

As of Tuesday, just fewer than 9 million shots have been put into arms.