JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The state’s health director said nearly 340,000 people in Missouri could receive a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of December.
The number of doses is up 120,000 more than what the state reported Thursday.
Department of Health and Senior Services Director Dr. Randall Williams said with the vaccine set to be here in about 10 days, it’s now possible for all long-term care facility residents, staff and health care workers to have their first dose of a COVID vaccine by the end of December.
“We just feel like by July or August, we will be in a much better place here in Missouri,” Williams said Friday. “The usual people who can give the flu vaccine will be able to give the COVID vaccine.”
Williams said he was told Friday from General Gustave Perna, chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, that Missouri will now have more than 339,000 doses of the COVID vaccine by the end of December.
“With that amount alone, we should be able to move through all our long-term care facility residents, staff and health care providers,” Williams said. “Whenever we give you a number, understand that Operation Warp Speed is holding back an equal amount in reserve to either send us three weeks later for the Pfizer or four weeks later for the Moderna.”
Williams said there are 58,000 long-term care residents, 70,000 staff that care for them, 15,000 physicians, 6,000 medical students, and 130,000 nurses throughout the state that will be able to receive the vaccine this month.
He said one week after Pfizer’s first shipment arrives in Missouri, 105,000 doses of Moderna will also be in the state.
“Pushing that out to all the other hospitals in Missouri, Hannibal, St. Joe’s, Joplin, Sedalia, because it’s stored in a regular freezer, four-degrees below zero,” Williams said. “We will very much be pushing that out to rural hospitals.”
For now, Williams said each vaccination site will only be given one of the vaccines.
“If we start a particular vaccine, Moderna or Pfizer, with a particular institution, we stay with that vaccine,” Williams said. “We don’t mix and match.”
Second doses of the vaccine come 21 days after the first Pfizer vaccine or 28 days after the first Moderna vaccine.
During Gov. Mike Parson’s weekly COVID briefing, Williams said 21 sites will offer the vaccine, but long-term care facilities will be vaccinated with employees from pharmacies.
“Walgreens and CVS will go out into those institutions,” Williams said. “They’ve taken that on using their employees to vaccinate our 1,300 long-term care facilities.”
Health care workers are first on the list to get a COVID vaccine, but Williams said he’s hearing hospitals won’t require the vaccination.
“What I’ve heard, from the ones I’ve talked to, which is several, is that they will not be mandating like they do the flu shot, the COVID-19 vaccine,” Williams said.
This plan could change if the FDA does not approve Pfizer or Moderna’s Emergency Use Authorization request, Williams said.
He is also traveling to the White House Tuesday to meet with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and General Perna to discuss Missouri’s vaccination plan.
Williams said the locations of the vaccination sites will not be released until the vaccine is delivered.