Missouri last across US for first COVID-19 shots given, frustrating many residents

Tracking Coronavirus

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A new study finds Missouri is the worst state for how many COVID-19 shots have been given, with only about 4% of the population vaccinated. 

Debra McArthur is recently retired, but the 65-year-old’s golden days aren’t exactly what she imagined so far.

“I planned to do a lot of traveling and get out, do lots of fun things, yet here I sit,” McArthur said.

She’s thankful to be fairly healthy but knows she’s at higher risk for getting COVID-19 and has been extra careful for a year. Like many, McArthur’s ready to be vaccinated. 
 
“I don’t know if we’ll ever get completely back to the way things were, but the vaccine is how we get there,” McArthur said.

She tried to fill out Platte County’s COVID-19 vaccine survey, but it bounced her to Kansas City’s vaccine interest form since she lives in the city limits. And since then, there’s been no indication of when a dose might be available. 

“It is frustrating. I hope that we’ll get a handle on this pretty quickly, and they’ll get it where it needs to go,” McArthur said.

Missouri is now ranked last in the nation for the rate vaccines are getting into arms. Idaho, Nevada and Alabama had the next worst per capita rates, followed by Missouri’s neighbors on both sides — Kansas and Illinois.

Supply continues to be the biggest challenge in moving the needle.

“We want to get vaccine out to as many people as we can as fast as we can. But we’re living in a world of low supply and high demand. So we have to work through that process,” said Dr. Catherine Satterwhite, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services regional administrator.

Gov. Mike Parson insisted in a Facebook post Monday that progress is being made. The National Guard is expected to help set up multiple mass vaccine clinics soon, giving at least 160 doses per team per day. 

This week, the Kansas City Council will talk about setting up a COVID-19 vaccine task force to ramp up distribution efforts. 

“I’m really glad to hear that and glad our health care workers are getting it, and I’m hopeful our teachers will be getting it now and those are the most important people,” McArthur said. “I can sit at home, and those people can’t and they’re out there working with other people who are in vulnerable populations. So let’s get them first. I’m all for that.”

More pharmacies around the region are expected to get COVID-19 vaccines in soon to give to the public following the guidelines for who gets it first, in both Missouri and Kansas. 

And experts say if counties allow, there’s no harm in signing up for alerts from multiple locations to snag the first appointments available to you. 

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