Lawmakers: Missouri needs help getting COVID-19 vaccine to rural, underserved areas

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Picture of COVID-19 vaccine

A nurse prepares a shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Guy’s Hospital in London. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, Pool)

ST. LOUIS — Members of Missouri’s congressional delegation are asking the federal government for help when it comes to getting COVID-19 vaccines distributed in rural areas.

A letter to the Department of Homeland Security signed by all but two members of the state’s delegation to the House and Senate says in part:

“According to recent reports published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Missouri’s vaccination rates fall below the average inoculation rates for other states of comparable size and population. While Missouri has administered nearly half of the doses that have been distributed to the state – a statistic on par with the majority of other states – the logistical challenges of transporting and administering multiple doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to underserved parts of the state remains a challenge, as well as to other states within Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 7.”

The letter asks for transportation and distribution assistance through funding given to FEMA

Missouri has been criticized for having the lowest percentage of its residents vaccinated, numbers described by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and backed up by Missouri’s vaccination dashboard. Gov. Parson, while disputing these statistics, also said that private companies Walgreens and CVS have not been able to vaccinate at the rate the state was hoping.

In response, Parson requested vaccinations back from those companies to be distributed through state-run sites. The Missouri National Guard is helping with these sites to inoculate as many residents as possible.

Missouri is reporting that 6.5% of the population has received at least one shot so far.

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