KC health director claims vaccine distribution inequities continue to hurt urban areas

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Health Director Dr. Rex Archer says the region has not gotten its fair share of COVID-19 vaccines according to the Missouri’s distribution plan.

“You can see that if we’re 23% of the population, and we’re getting 20% of the vaccine, we’re 40,000 doses short for Region A, and that’s just straight math,” Archer said of the information reported on Missouri’s COVID-19 website.

Each of the nine Highway Patrol Region gets a certain amount of vaccine based on population.

Information on Missouri’s COVID website shows the urban areas like Kansas City in Region A and St. Louis in Region C are getting slighted, while some of the rural areas have gotten more vaccine than percentage of population.

“We’re distributing this equally across the state with what supplies we have. So I don’t know where he comes up with those numbers,” Gov. Mike Parson said. “I don’t care where, in Kansas City, St. Louis, rural Missouri — it is divided by the population, those nine regions, and we’re going to continue to do that.”

Archer does not agree in splitting up the state that way.

“The highway patrol regions might make sense by the number of highway miles in each region, but they don’t make sense by a population standpoint,” Archer said. “When one region, Kansas City’s Region A has literally 10 and a half times as much population as the smallest Highway Patrol Region, putting a National Guard Mass Vaccination Team in each region was not going to make the numbers work.”

Another indicator that the KC metro has been left behind is the percent of people vaccinated. On its website, the State of Missouri reports that 16.8% of people in the state have been vaccinated. Kansas City is at 14.7%, percent, Clay and Jackson Counties are at 14.2%, Cass County is at 12.6% and Platte County reports just 10.1% of its population is vaccinated.

The state website shows some rural counties are at 20% or above in the percentage of vaccinated population.

“To try to make it sound like rurals get more than urban and all that, I get all that the media hype on that, but it’s not true,” Parson said.

While he would not go into details, the governor said he will make an announcement regarding vaccines on Thursday that will affect the Kansas City area.

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