ONE-ON-ONE: Missouri’s top doctor discusses state’s plan for COVID-19 vaccine roll out

Published: Sep. 22, 2020 at 6:09 PM CDT
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KY3) - Despite several ongoing COVID-19 vaccine trials in the final testing phase, there hasn’t been a vaccine approved just yet.

“The answer to re-engaging and getting back to where we were is a vaccine," said Dr. Randall Williams, Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

He believes there are three key aspects for government agencies to remember when rolling out a vaccine to help put an end to a global pandemic.

“Communication, collaboration, and coordination," Williams said.

To aid those three key aspects of the coronavirus vaccine rollout, the Centers for Disease Control released what’s called the COVID-19 Vaccine Playbook.

“Phase One, which we believe will be in November, and we don’t know how many doses we’ll have yet, will be for health care workers, those who are most vulnerable, and other essential people," Williams said.

Those ‘other essential people’ are likely police, fire, and EMS.

Phase Two of the state and CDC’s plan would likely bring in enough doses to finish giving to those groups of people.

“And then, Phase Three is a mass vaccination campaign, which we believe will be in January or February," Williams said.

Unlike the flu shot, a second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine within a month of the first dose will be critical, according to the CDC.

It has to come from the same manufacturer.

That’s not common with many vaccinations.

“It would be very different for a respiratory virus like this to get two vaccinations," Williams said.

Only 45% of Missourians get the flu vaccine, according to Williams, so convincing more people to get a brand new vaccine could be tough.

“We think herd immunity is when you get to 60%. That’s always our goal," Williams noted.

In the meantime, Williams is encouraging everyone to continue social distancing and wearing masks.

“You don’t want to get COVID-19.”

Copyright 2020 KY3. All rights reserved.

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