Larger Missouri cities lagging behind smaller counties in COVID-19 vaccinations

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ST. LOUIS – Heavily populated areas in Missouri like Kansas City and St. Louis have been far behind municipalities with fewer residents when it comes to the percentage of the population that has received the first dose of the vaccine.

In the Kansas City metro, only 6.9% of Jackson County residents have received at least one vaccine. None of Kansas City’s four counties have a percentage more than 10%. The numbers are much larger in smaller counties, like Pettis, Henry and Saline counties.

The same holds true for the other side of the state. 6.5% of St. Louis City residents have received the first vaccination and 8.1% in St. Louis County.

Alternatively, it’s 15.7% in Cape Girardeau County and 18% in Shelby County.

Dr. Alex Garza said we he was concerned about the discrepancy.

“With any scarce resource, you want to make sure you’re getting it to the people that are vulnerable,” he said. 

Smaller populated counties are being vaccinated must faster than places like St. Louis City and St. Louis County. State data shows St. Louis County ranks behind more than 50 other Missouri counties

“There was legitimate concern that we need to be asking for more vaccine in our region,” said Dr. Alex Garza, head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force.

State health officials said Wednesday they’ve seen the numbers and insist there’s an ebb and flow when it comes to distribution. They’ve pledged an equitable distribution of the vaccine.

“We know we have a lot of moving dynamics. What may show today to be low spot for one community may be very well to be a high spot for that same community a week later,” said Adam Crumbliss, head of the Division of Community and Public Health for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

In the latest plan, the state now says Missouri should receive more than 97,000 doses. Region C, which is the St. Louis area, will get more than a third of those shots.

At least one health official believes we are more than halfway through the pandemic battle.

“If you look at where we are in the COVID pandemic, right now we’re really probably in about the fifth inning,” Crumbliss said.

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