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Onder gets coronavirus vaccination


State Sen. Bob Onder, a physician from St. Charles County, has received the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. 

Onder said most of his medical staff at his two Allergy and Asthma Consultants locations have already received the vaccine. He received his first dose at Mercy in St. Louis on Friday. 

“I really do believe that this is going to be the — the only way — to get through this pandemic unless we luck out and the virus mutates and goes away,” Onder said. “It’s really exciting we have a vaccine so quickly, and it looks to be safe and effective. I think by this time next year, we’ll be talking about how the virus is going away — maybe not gone, but going away.” 

Onder said it was important for himself and his employees to get vaccinated in order to protect the patients they see — most of whom suffer from respiratory diseases such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

“We treat people who cough for a living,” the Republican lawmaker said. 

As of Jan. 9, nearly 150,000 doses of the vaccine (both Pfizer and Moderna) have been administered in Missouri. The state health department is preparing to issue guidance on the next phase of administering the vaccine this week. 

As of Monday morning, more than 424,000 Missourians have tested positive for COVID-19, and nearly 6,000 people have died. The positivity rate over the past seven days hovered at just below 19 percent with 2,600 people hospitalized.