What’s the holdup for Missourians, Kansans who want to get vaccinated against COVID-19?

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — At one time, both Kansas and Missouri ranked in the bottom for the rate of COVID-19 vaccination among the 50 United States.

As of now, approximately 8% of people in both states have received their initial dose of the vaccine and FOX4 is Working for You to find out why it is taking so long to get people vaccinated.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough. A glimmer of hope from vaccines has dimmed for folks frustrated over the difficulty getting vaccinated.

“We’re just not getting enough vaccines to meet the demands,” said Kansas Governor Laura Kelly.

Missouri’s Governor Mike Parson agreed, “The great limiting factor is a lack of vaccine,” he said.

As of Wednesday, Missouri’s numbers showed over 250,000 unused doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Parson said that number is deceiving because of reporting issues and second-dose vaccines.

“It looks like you’re sitting on doses… those are really already accounted for. You’re just waiting for that 21 days to roll around,” Parson said.

While also plagued by reporting issues, the Kansas Vaccine Tracker reported Wednesday about 189,000 unused doses of vaccine.

Dr. Marci Nielsen is Chief Advisor for Kansas COVID-19 Coordination. When asked if she understands people’s frustration when they find out vaccines are available but not being used, she replied, “I’m not only empathetic, but from where I stand, I’m equally frustrated given that we don’t want these these providers to hold on to vaccine. Now, the good news is most of them aren’t.”

The federal government is doling out COVID-19 vaccine by population. According to the 2019 census Missouri’s population is just over 6,000,000, making it the 18th-most populated state. Kansas is less than half of that with just under 3,000,000 residents, ranking it 36th in population.

“For Kansas, we are 1% of the of the United States population, and we got about 1% of the vaccine,” said Nielsen.

Kansas is receiving 52,000 doses a week and there are approximately one million people who qualify for a vaccine in the current phase. At that rate, it could take five months to get through the Phase Two vaccinations.

Nielsen said that is not going to happen.

“I think we are going to hear good news about more vaccines coming onto the market,” she said.

The FDA will next consider Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine for emergency use, AstraZenca and Novavax are expected to follow.

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