JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – By April 9, all Missourians will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, and Gov. Mike Parson said the state will soon start seeing more “mega” vaccination events.
In the past two weeks, mega vaccination events have happened at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City and in St. Louis at St. Louis Community College at Forest Park and St. Charles Family Arena, allowing for thousands of Missourians to be vaccinated. Next week, Springfield will hold its first mega vaccination event at Missouri State University.
“More than 1.5 million Missourians, nearly 25 percent have initiated vaccinations and more than 175,000 have been fully vaccinated,” Parson said during a press conference.
Parson said the COVID situation is improving on all fronts.
He explained Missouri is still the lowest in the nation for the 7-day PCR case rate. He also said hospitalizations have fallen under 800 for the first time since August. He credits a drop in COVID cases and an increase in the number of people vaccinated.
Parson said out of the 2.4 million doses administered in the state, only 400 have gone to waste. In some circumstances, doses have had to be relocated due to an excess. Parson said the state will probably start to see extra doses in the urban areas, similar to what’s happening in rural areas right now, after the federal government starts helping.
“You’re going to see this happen in St. Louis, trust me,” Parson said. “When FEMA gets in there and they try to do 3,000 a day for that many days, you’ll see days they’ll try to find somewhere to go with the vaccine.”
Starting next week, FEMA will host a large vaccination event at the Dome at America’s Center in downtown St. Louis where, for eight weeks, 3,000 will be vaccinated a day.
“The conversations we had with FEMA in January and February, they did offer their services to come to Missouri and support without vaccine,” Parson said.
Earlier this week during a committee hearing with Parson’s Deputy Chief of Staff Robert Knodell and Director of the Department of Health and Senior Services, some lawmakers in the urban areas expressed concerns about the homeless not being able to get the vaccine.
“I have tons of unhoused residents at our pop-up shelters in the City of St. Louis that are over the age of 65 that have chronic illness that would like the vaccine,” Rep. Kimberly-Ann Collins, D-St. Louis, said.
Director of Missouri Health and Senior Services Dr. Randall Williams said during a press conference Thursday that he’s working on a plan to fix that.
“The plan is to really work with St. Louis City Health Department, St. Louis County Health Department to work with our targeted National Guard teams to identify those,” Williams said.
He said after the press briefing, he was meeting Collins in her district to see and listen to her constituents.
Parson also said plans are in the works to bring another mega vaccination site to Arrowhead Stadium this month.
“We will be back in Kansas City. I would assume we will be right back at Arrowhead,” Parson said. “We know that was a huge success. We’ll be back there, it’s just kind of a time schedule, but I would say we would definitely be back there in April to be able to do that again.”
Missouri started vaccinating people in Phase 2 on Monday and April 9 is when anyone in the state will become eligible.