With Missouri, Kansas lagging behind, see how other states are pacing ahead in COVID vaccine distribution

Tracking Coronavirus

While Missouri and Kansas push to get more COVID-19 vaccines in citizens’ arms, FOX4 examined how states across the country are doing in their efforts to administer the life-saving shots.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s COVID-19 data tracker, the United States has to date: 

  • Distributed 37,960,000 doses of the vaccine 
  • Administered 17,546,374 total doses
  • Administered 2,089,181 doses in long-term care facilities 
  • Administered at one dose to 15,053,257 people
  • Administered two doses to 2,394,961 people

CDC records show West Virginia, North Dakota, and Alaska have the highest percentages of residents who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Missouri and Kansas have among the lowest percentages.

According to CDC records, West Virginia has distributed 231,800 COVID-19 vaccines and 7.5% of its residents have received at least one dose. 

“West Virginia has continued to be among the top in the nation in the rate of vaccine distribution administration,” Allison Adler, director of communications for the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, told FOX4.

“This week, West Virginia ranked top for vaccine distribution per capita, according to the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Tracker.” 

What does the state attribute to its high rate of vaccination? 

“West Virginia modified its plan, using a slightly different approach than plans used nationwide because about 54% of the state’s pharmacies are not chain affiliated,” Adler said.

“West Virginia has been working with the State Pharmacy Board and the West Virginia Healthcare Association to modify this approach to vaccinate long term care staff and residents, whereas if we only opted into the federal program, we felt we would be limiting our ability to distribute and administer the vaccine to the population in need.” 

Adler, however, said the state has not opted out of the federal pharmacy.

“At this time, West Virginia has not outlined its dates to active (that program).” 

She added: “Right now, West Virginia needs more vaccines and continues to ask for more so we can get them in arms as quickly as possible.” 

North Dakota also has a high percentage of residents, 6.4 %, who’ve received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the CDC.  

“We did have a focused effort on planning that involved multiple stakeholders and a lot of coordination,” Nicole Peske, chief communications officer, for the North Dakota Department of Health, said.

“The (department) and its partners, including local public health, health systems, tribes, have been actively planning since August for the COVID-19 vaccine. Working together collaboratively in the past has led to other successful immunization efforts.” 

Peske outlined some of steps that “seem to be working” in North Dakota:

  • Enrollment: North Dakota enrolled all provider sites needed for the entire COVID-19 vaccine campaign.
  • Provider Education: North Dakota holds weekly COVID-19 vaccine updates and planning meetings with all COVID-19 vaccine providers. The state trained healthcare providers on the COVID-19 vaccines before they were authorized for use in the United States, which allowed for vaccines to be administered immediately.
  • Warehouse/Redistribution: North Dakota has a state warehouse that can store and handle COVID-19 vaccines. The department can breakdown COVID-19 vaccine shipments into smaller quantities to get vaccines to rural areas of the state, where many healthcare providers are located. COVID-19 vaccines for phase 1A healthcare workers were distributed to providers across the state of North Dakota, not just hospitals and health systems.
  • COVID-19 Vaccine Inventory Monitoring: The department informed providers they would not receive subsequent doses if they carried COVID-19 vaccine inventory.
  • North Dakota and Long-term Care Federal Pharmacy Partnership Program: Fifty-eight percent of long-term care facilities in North Dakota do not participate in the federal pharmacy partnership program. In those cases, COVID-19 vaccines were sent to public health, independent pharmacies, or the long-term care itself for immediate vaccination. 

Missouri and Kansas COVID-19 Vaccine Numbers 

Missouri and Kansas announced plans this week to increase the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in their states. 

And the percentages of residents in both states who’ve received at least one dose of the vaccine has increased slightly in the past few days. 

According to the CDC, Missouri has now distributed a total of 621,200 COVID-19 vaccines and 3.3% of residents have received at least one dose. 

Kansas has distributed 312,000 COVID-19 vaccines and 3.8% of residents have received at least one dose, according to the CDC. 

Governor Laura Kelly announced this week that approximately 1 million more Kansans would be eligible for the vaccine as the state enters Phase 2 of its rollout plan. Given the limited supply from the federal government, however, Kelly asked residents to be patient and contact their local health department if they’re in Phase 1 or 2 and want to receive the vaccine. 

In Missouri, Gov. Mike Parson announced the National Guard would be deployed to help with the distribution. He also activated two new phases to the rollout to include those 65 and older and high-risk individuals, public health staff, law enforcement, firefighters, and other emergency services employees. 

FOX4 has a complete county-by-county list on our website with the information you need to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

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