Butler County takes lead in Region E vaccination efforts

Friday, February 19, 2021
AP File

Emily Goodin wears two hats these days. Along with being director of the Butler County Health Center, Goodin is the Region E implementation team leader.

Goodin acquired the region team leader position when the health center won a competitive COVID response regional implementation grant through the Missouri Department of Health.

State Emergency Management Director Hank Volker offered Goodin “kudos” this week, during a regular briefing held by Butler County officials.

Volker said, “Emily and I talk countless hours planning the mass COVID vaccinations. We have been very busy.”

Goodin has worked for the health department for 17 years, starting as a health educator, and moving into emergency response planner, before becoming director.

Region E includes the counties of Bollinger, Butler, Cape Girardeau, Dunklin, Iron, Madison, Mississippi, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Ripley, Scott, Stoddard and Wayne, said Robbie Myers, Butler County Emergency Management Agency director.

Goodin explained, the competitive grant opportunity went to local health departments and hospitals in the region and “we were awarded the grant.”

Goodin‘s responsibility with the grant “is to reach out to all the health departments in the region to see if they need assistance, or to see if they need assistance with their COVID response getting the vaccine out in their communities.”

“We help with supplies they may need, we help them with volunteers,” she said. “The overall objective is to link them with other local resources within their county, so they can implement their vaccine clinics within their county, working together as a team. The National Guard has stepped in, which is great, and I believe that it’s because of the partnership that the region has with the health departments being all close. I believe that helped put us in the limelight, so to speak, to make us be the first one for the National Guard.”

Goodin credits strong community partnerships with being the driving force for Poplar Bluff receiving the first mass clinic.

“The health department works really well with our local emergency management agency and our hospitals,” Goodin said. “I think the state recognizes that.

“From our events, they took the lessons learned and implemented it throughout the whole state,” she said. “With the National Guard event, we are a week ahead of everybody in the state.”

“We are finishing our booster clinics I believe next week, and then we’re going to do another round once more, working with the National Guard,” she said. “The clinics will not only be in Butler County again, but Cape County again, as well as Bollinger County. So as the team leader, I work with the National Guard and SEMA to name the locations to hold these mass clinics within these counties and help the local health departments get the resources needed to facilitate these clinics.”

In addition to the first mass event held in Poplar Bluff, they planned the one in Caruthersville and Cape Girardeau, as well as the follow up one at the Black River Coliseum in Poplar Bluff.

During the briefing, Goodin reminded the group the rapid COVID tests are done twice a week at the Butler County Health Center by appointment.

Anyone interested in taking the test may contact the center by email at bchc@semo.net. Another mass vaccination event will be held Tuesday, March 9, in Poplar Bluff and is geared toward those who need the first dose, Goodin said.

Goodin said, the other clinics are all on the Butler County website and Facebook page and residents should use the state’s vaccine navigator to register. If someone can’t register on the navigator, they may call the state hotline at 1-877-435-8411 to register.

The state has enough staff to help people register online.