NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Federal government workers on the ground in Missouri to help administer the vaccine? That’s a loud “no” coming from Gov. Mike Parson.
In fact, over the last 24 hours, Parson has sparred online with President Joe Biden, who suggested a program where people would go door-to-door, knocking and offering the COVID vaccine.
A door-to-door campaign doesn’t exist outside of the president’s words, but Parson shared his strong opposition to a federal plan that could single out Missouri.
During a stop in North Kansas City on Thursday, Parson said that everyone in Missouri now has access to the vaccine, and if you want it, you can get it. He said he’s encouraging people to get vaccinated and has never been shy about sharing photos of his own vaccination.
But Parson said the president’s comments rubbed him the wrong way.
On Wednesday, Biden shared the news that, by the end of this week, 160 million Americans will be fully vaccinated.
But he also added that large vaccination clinics are winding down and areas with low vaccination rates could be marketed to in a different way.
“Now we need to go to community-by-community, neighborhood-by-neighborhood, and oftentimes door-to-door — literally knocking on doors — to get help to the remaining people protected from the virus,” Biden said.
“Look, equity, equality, it remains at the heart of our responsibility of ensuring the communities that are the hardest hit by the virus have the information and the access to get vaccinated,” Biden said.
In response, Parson wrote this tweet: “I have directed our health department to let the federal government know that sending government employees or agents door-to-door to compel vaccination would NOT be an effective OR a welcome strategy in Missouri.”
FOX4 asked him about the tweet on Thursday.
“What you wrote was that a door-to-door effort would be unwelcome and ineffective. Why do you think that’s the case?” FOX4 asked.
“I didn’t say that at all. I’m just saying you don’t need the federal government coming in here going to people door-to-door on private property, trying to either force somebody to take a vaccine,” Parson said.
“I don’t know what this plan is that they’re talking about, number one, and assist our local health departments, which they have all along,” Parson said.
“I think the reality of it is that there’s a hesitancy once you get past that 55% mark, and we’ve got to work on that,” Parson said.
Parson added that currently there’s only one federal employee in Missouri assisting in the state’s COVID-19 response.
On Thursday, the White House walked-back on the door-to-door language the president used, insisting he meant that a program could come from local trusted leaders.
“These are grassroots efforts across the country. They are not members of the government. They are not federal government employees. They are volunteers. They are clergy,” Jen Psaki, White House Press Secretary, said during Thursday’s press briefing.
Parson also said that no one from the White House had contacted him about a door-to-door campaign of any kind. Either way, he said, he thinks local governments and health departments should just keep doing what they’re doing.