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St. Louis County takes new vaccine approach as demand for shots slows down

The county health department is focusing more on smaller vaccine events at community organizations, churches, businesses and labor unions

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — St. Louis County is looking to fight vaccine hesitancy with a shift in strategy to get more shots into arms as demand for COVID-19 vaccines decreases.

The county health department is looking to partner with more community organizations to put on targeted vaccine events in neighborhoods. It’s a change from the focus of mass vaccination clinics.

Community organizations that can put on these smaller vaccine events include places of worship, businesses, labor unions and other community groups. County Executive Sam Page said leaders of these organizations are encouraged to contact the St. Louis County Department of Public Health.

“Consider this your invitation to partner with us on a vaccination event,” Page said Wednesday. “We’re looking for any group that can provide adequate space and can recruit individuals to get vaccinated. You do that and we’ll bring the vaccine and the vaccinators.”

Those who are interested should visit St. Louis County’s coronavirus information website.

Page said partnering with these groups is good for several reasons, making it easier for residents to get vaccinated and doing it through an organization they trust.

“By partnering with community organizations like these, we’re leveraging the level of trust they’ve already earned,” Page explained.

He said this effort could help tackle vaccine hesitancy among those who haven’t received a shot yet.

“We understand that when they see other folks in their groups or organizations, social groups, churches getting vaccinated then they’re more comfortable getting vaccinated as well,” Page said.

The county’s shift follows a similar move by the Biden administration, which on Tuesday announced a new goal to deliver at least one dose to 70% of American adults by July 4. President Joe Biden called for states and pharmacies to make vaccines available on a walk-in basis. The new plan also shifts the government's focus toward expanding smaller and mobile vaccination clinics to deliver doses to harder-to-reach communities.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.