First Phelps Health patients receive COVID-19 vaccine

Dixon resident Jerry Plunkett, 92, was one of the first patients at Phelps Health to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Plunkett was one of the first patients at Phelps Health to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

As part of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ (DHSS) phased vaccination plan, patient-facing healthcare workers and residents in long-term care facilities, including Phelps Health’s Transitional Care Facility, were given first priority to be vaccinated.

All patients in the Transitional Care Facility were offered the COVID-19 vaccine as part of Phase 1A of Missouri's plan, according to Phelps Health Administrative Director of Clinical Quality and Management Linde Merrow.

Plunkett, who fell in December 2020 and had to be admitted to the hospital, accepted the offer to receive the vaccine.

“It's just like every other inoculation,” Plunkett said of getting the shot. “There were no complications…[It felt like] a pin prick, but it was just a normal thing.”

Plunkett said over the course of his life, he has been vaccinated several times because he was in the military for a while.

When asked about some individuals being reluctant to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Plunkett said, “I'm amazed some people don't want to get it.”

He said once the vaccine becomes available to the general public, he would recommend that people be vaccinated.

“Even if they don't want it for themselves, it [the vaccine] will help protect the whole public,” he said.

“Getting the vaccine is the right thing to do,” Plunkett said. “I'm an inventor and I want to get back and finish my projects. The vaccine allows me to do that because if I get COVID-19 at my age, there isn't a lot of hope.” To learn more about Missouri’s COVID-19 vaccination plan, visit

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