Joplin area community leaders come together to focus on COVID vaccination rates

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JOPLIN, MO – Joplin area community leaders, educators, and healthcare providers have teamed up to put a focus on vaccination rates.

Are parents that don’t get vaccinated putting their kids at risk?

“Yes, they sure are.” Says Dr. Tracy Godfrey MD., President, Mercy Clinic Joplin.

Dr. Godfrey says patients in local COVID units now are significantly different than before, but it’s having the same impact on those providing care.

“They’re at their breaking point taking care of these young people in their 20’s and 30’s having to be on ventilators and for days to weeks and understanding what they are going to have to go through to recover, the length of the recovery, if they recover.” Dr. Godfrey says.

Godfrey was part of a large contingent of Joplin area vaccine proponents speaking at the Raise the Rate event held in Joplin on Tuesday, organized by Krista Stark.

“It wasn’t really hard to get all these folks together, took some time because it takes a lot of time to put together something like this, but all of these folks were excited about to participate in something that would keep their community safe.” Says Krista Stark, Community Health Collaborative.

But this press conference is just one part of the “Raise the Rate” initiative, it will be followed on Thursday with an actual vaccination clinic here at Access Family Healthcare.

To present a united front, area educators like Dr. Anthony Rossetti, Superintendent of Webb City Schools, say it’s the right thing to do for our kids.

“I don’t have any doubt that this is probably the best solution that we have to combat COVID-19 and so uh I think this is something we should promote and we believe in.” Dr. Rossetti says.

“I think city representation is important because we’re part of the community, we’re here with our faith based organizations, we’re here with our medical community, our schools, we’re all asking people to take those next steps.” Says Anthony Monteleone, Joplin City Council.

Medical professionals say Southwest Missouri as a whole only has a 58% vaccination rate, which is far too low to achieve herd immunity, against the original COVID-19 virus or the Delta Variant.

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