JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is seeking to take unused doses of the coronavirus vaccine back from pharmacies so they can be distributed to mass vaccination sites operated by the National Guard around the state.
It’s an effort to speed up the sluggish pace of immunizations.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Parson spokeswoman Kelli Jones said Tuesday night that the administration is looking at diverting 25,000 doses from CVS and Walgreens.
“We asked for 25,000 back already and are asking for more,” Jones said.
Walgreens and CVS have been allocated vaccines for skilled nursing and long-term facilities in Missouri through the Federal Pharmacy Partnership, spokeswoman Stephanie Whitaker told FOX4. She said state leaders implore them to complete those vaccinations for this most vulnerable population as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Jones stressed that the state’s maneuver won’t keep pharmacies from finishing their work providing vaccinations at nursing homes, which have been particularly hard hit by the spread of COVID-19.
Missouri’s move comes as other states have begun redirecting the deployment of vaccines under the oversight of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Missouri has been criticized for moving slowly after the CDC reported it was last among states with only 4% vaccinated.
Parson pushed back against the CDC’s last place ranking, saying the data misrepresents the truth. He then directed residents to the Missouri vaccination dashboard, which as of Jan. 27, confirms that only 4.7% of the state population has been given a shot.