KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The State of Missouri has been working on its vaccine roll-out plan since before there was a vaccine on the horizon. Now that several are on their way after FDA Emergency Use Clearance, it’s game time.
“It’s good news for the State of Missouri,” said Governor Mike Parson. “We’ve just got to make sure we get that implemented and get it out there soon as possible.”
Over 50,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine are expected in Missouri on or around December 15. Distribution will begin within the following day or two.
That’s half of the state’s original goal which was first to vaccinate 100,000 health care workers and folks in long term care facilities by the end of January.
“That first 50,000 or 51,000 will be the first round,” Parson said. “About two weeks later there should be another round coming in.”
The second stage moves on to 3 million essential workers like teachers, daycare operators and first responders who will be vaccinated in February thru April. The 3 million people in the general population will be eligible for vaccination beginning in April or May.
The vaccine will be stored at 25 distribution centers across Missouri that have cold storage of 94 degrees below zero. That’s up from the original number of 10.
“We’ve already got that in place,” Parson said. “They will be all over around the state of Missouri, whether it’s in Southern Missouri, the Southwest, Kansas City area, St. Louis or wherever.”
Distribution centers must be able to handle 1,000 vaccinations and Governor Parson plans on using the National Guard to help.
The Director of Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services, Dr. Randall Williams is encouraging everyone to take the vaccine when it is available.
“I truly believe it is our best path to getting to normal,” Williams said.
When asked if he will encourage Missourians to get the vaccine, Parson replied, “You know, I think it’s going to be an individual choice what you do,” he said. “Of course you want people taking the vaccine if they are comfortable doing it because we think we’ve got to get those numbers up there. But, we also realize that not everybody’s going to want to take a vaccine.”
The exact distribution points in Missouri have not been identified, but nursing schools, medical schools, dental associations, pharmacies, EMS agencies and home healthcare agencies have been identified as vaccine providers.