JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Newly released records confirm widespread excess in rural, state-run mass COVID-19 vaccination clinics, leading to some shots going to waste.
The Department of Public Safety released records showing the number of COVID-19 vaccines administered at sites managed by the Missouri National Guard during only a single week in February. This doesn’t provide the full picture, since these clinics have been run for weeks.
Missouri vaccination numbers
The data shows 47,143 vaccines were given at the 28 locations from Feb. 21 to Feb. 27, and update from previous reporting of 42,983 vaccines.
Additionally, 7,735 doses were left over. Workers had to redistribute these doses to county health departments, earmarked for use at upcoming scheduled clinics, or used to reschedule those who missed appointments.
The report also shows that five of those clinic locations reported a total of 152 wasted doses. The largest number came from a vaccination clinic in Putnam County in Unionville, Mo.
The clinic reported 143 doses of the vaccine were thrown away because needles were dislodged and they couldn’t get six doses out of all vials. The clinic also reported there were no-shows and duplicate appointments, and more vaccine was drawn up than what was needed.
The data from the week shows that of the 28 sites, just five used all of the allocated doses. Four of those sites provided only the booster, or second-dose shots.
A two-day clinic in Lebanon, Mo., was the only initial dose clinic that week to use all of its vaccine. The clinic vaccinated 2,000 people over those two days.
Gov. Parson said he takes responsibility for what happened at that vaccination site.
“I got to own Putnam County. What happened up there, it should never have happened. It’s just that simple, shouldn’t have happened. We need to fix it,” said Gov. Parson after touring a St. Louis area vaccine clinic Thursday morning. “We have to make sure we are doing a better job than what we did up there. We never want that situation to happen.”
Critics say the wasted doses aren’t the only issue with Missouri’s vaccine distribution. They point to vaccine clinics held in rural parts of the state that received more doses than what they could get into arms.
Gov. Parson was asked about equitable distribution of vaccine, saying it is still based on population, but that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will help people get vaccinated much quicker.
More distribution plans
Parson said that 50,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be distributed across Missouri. Of those doses, 5,000 will go to targeted vaccination sites in St. Louis and Kansas City. 10,000 will go to regional mass vaccination events. The remaining 35,000 will go to providers across the state.
The governor’s office said it is working to identify more pharmacies for vaccine distribution in areas that have vulnerable populations.
“Vaccine interest is often highest in the state’s urban populations. Starting next week we will begin transitioning mass vaccination events in the Kansas City and St. Louis regions. We expect a full transition by April the first,” said Gov. Parson.
Two teams will be operational in the Kansas City area and three in the St. Louis region. They will be using the Johnson and Johnson one-shot vaccine so patients do not need to return for boosters.