ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — About 172,000 St. Louis County residents have preregistered to know when it’s their turn to get the vaccine.
But not everyone is being honest.
County Executive Sam Page said people already have tried lying about their qualifications in order to skip ahead in the coronavirus vaccine line. He said people have lied about being health care workers. Some people who are in the approved groups have tried bringing loved ones who aren’t eligible yet. Page said he’s even had high school students show up for appointments after misrepresenting who they were on the form.
“We urge people to be honest when preregistering and think about those you could be bumping from line,” Page said. “We need everyone in this honor system to be honorable.”
Page further explained that lying about your eligibility for the vaccine wastes the time of health care workers and puts them in a position of turning someone away because they weren’t following the rules.
“This has not been a huge problem, but as the availability in vaccines increases, those showing up who should not be in line will ultimately slow down the process, elevate tensions and deprive a vaccine to our most vulnerable and those who are most likely to have severe outcomes if infected by the virus,” the county executive explained.
St. Louis County received 975 vaccine doses in its first batch. More vaccines are expected to arrive Tuesday, Page said, adding that the county asked for double the amount they got in the first round.
Once the county has more vaccines in hand, health officials will notify the public and start setting up appointments with people who qualify on the pre-registration list.
St. Louis County is in the process of establishing its first mass vaccine distribution site, Page announced Monday. He said the first center will be in north county, “where the virus hit early and hard.”
“We are committed to getting the shot to those who have historically been underserved and disproportionately impacted by this pandemic,” Page said.
County health officials are still considering several locations with several factors in mind.
The site must be large enough for people to easily social distance while waiting in line. And everyone should be able to wait inside – the county doesn’t want residents to be standing outside in the cold. There needs to be a large observation area where residents wait after getting the shot. The facility needs to be able to handle what it takes to properly store the vaccines at very cold temperatures. The location also needs to be secure.
Page said leaders are working with community partners to open sites throughout the county to make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to have access to the vaccine.
Drive-up sites will have to wait for now, Page said, due to the CDC recommendation that vaccine recipients be observed for about 30 minutes for any adverse reactions.