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Missouri Gov. Parson announces next phase of COVID-19 vaccination plan

Published: Jan. 14, 2021 at 12:56 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 14, 2021 at 6:02 PM CST
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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KY3) - Governor Mike Parson announced the activation of Phase 1B - Tier 1 of Missouri’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan on Thursday.

Federal partners informed the state they plan to significantly increase vaccine supply next week. Individuals 65 and older and those with underlying health conditions will be a priority. This news allows the state to begin the process of activating Phase 1B tiers.

“Beginning the activation of Phase 1B is all about saving lives and protecting those most vulnerable to exposure and illness from this virus,” Governor Parson said. “We are looking forward to increased vaccine supply in the coming weeks as supply is the leading factor that dictates our movement through our plan. The more supply we receive, the quicker we can reach our goal of making vaccines available to every Missourians who wants one.”

The activation of Phase 1B - Tier 1 reflects the guidance the state has received from federal partners as well as information gathered from stakeholders across the state. Phase 1B - Tier 1 is activated today, and Phase 1B - Tier 2 will begin on Monday, January 18.

Tier 1 of Phase 1B focuses on protecting those who keep Missourians safe, such as first responders, emergency management and public works, people working in emergency services and those within the public health infrastructure. Any Phase 1A vaccinators who have an available supply of the vaccine can begin vaccinating those in Phase 1B- Tier 1 today. State leaders say although the next phase has been activated, those who fall into Phase 1A and have not been vaccinated yet, still can.

“You have to understand the demand is much higher than the supply and the supply is such an unknown because it’s coming from the federal level,” Governor Parson said. “The one thing I want to ensure all Missourians is there is a plan in place. We’re executing that plan and as soon as that vaccine is coming in, we’re distributing it to the healthcare across the state of Missouri.”

Tier 2 of Phase 1B focuses on protecting those who are at increased risk for severe illness, including individuals aged 65 and older and any adult with cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, or intellectual and/or developmental disabilities such as Down Syndrome, heart conditions, a weakened immune system due to organ transplant, severe obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, or Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus.

“We recognize and appreciate that there are a variety of individuals on the frontlines who have a greater risk of exposure each day they go to work,” Governor Parson said. “We are grateful for the tireless and selfless efforts of our health care providers and first responders who risk their own safety to protect the health and well-being of Missourians.”

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Director Dr. Randall Williams issued a statewide health order today regarding the vaccination of individuals in Phase 1A, Phase 1B - Tier 1, and Phase 1B - Tier 2. The order outlines who can be vaccinated as part of the state’s determined phases and applies to those administering the federally-funded COVID-19 vaccines.

Although initial tiers within Phase 1B are being activated today and Monday, there are currently not enough vaccines for everyone included in these groups. As additional supplies arrive, this activation will allow for the greatest vaccine coverage where it is most needed. It will also allow vaccinators and organizations to continue planning effectively for future tiers and phases.

“Whatever capacity I need as Governor to make sure we get this vaccine in people’s arms the quickest and the safest, we will do that,” Governor Parson said. “Whatever avenues I have to help with that process.”

Individuals in Phase 1A and Phase 1B - Tier 1 should work through their employer and/or association to access the vaccine. Individuals in Phase 1B - Tier 2 should contact their local pharmacy or health care provider or visit MOStopsCovid.com to learn when vaccines may be available and how to receive them.

State leaders say they are asking people to do their part and self-identify their eligibility within a tier. If people are signing up directly with a provider or pharmacy, they do not need to complete a screening form from the state’s website unless directed to.

For Phase 1B- Tier 1, state leaders say the plan is to have the vaccine come to them. Employers should initiate contracts with an approved vaccinator and schedule vaccinations with the employees.

For Phase 1B- Tier 2, state leaders say the plan is for the individual to initiate by making an appointment with a provider, pharmacy or by contacting their local health agency. The provider should then screen and vaccinate those individuals within this phase.

There may also be opportunities for community vaccination events for both Phase 1B Tiers 1 and 2. State leaders say these would be similar to the community testing events that have been held across the state.

A list of vaccinators and regional vaccine implementation teams will be made available at www.MOstopsCovid.com on January 15. DHSS encourages employers and associations representing individuals in activated phases to use the list to connect with a vaccinator or regional vaccine implementation team in their area and make a plan for vaccinating their teams.

“We know one of the most common questions among Missourians right now is when it will be their turn to be vaccinated, and we are greatly encouraged by the interest in the vaccines from the public,” Dr. Williams. “Each day, our team is monitoring the amount of vaccine available and making sure it is distributed so that people can receive the vaccine as quickly as possible. We are so thankful to our hundreds of clinical partners throughout the state who are making that happen.”

Based on reporting from providers, at least 27 percent of Phase 1A has received the first dose of the vaccine. This includes residents and staff of long-term care facilities and health care workers, including dentists, EMS, school nurses, and those working in hospital or clinic settings, among others. These individuals will continue to be vaccinated.

Missourians began receiving first doses of COVID-19 vaccines last month. More than 160,000 individuals have received an initial dose, and more than 22,000 have now been fully vaccinated with the 2-dose series. Vaccine supply continues to be the rate-limiting factor for vaccine administration throughout the state. State vaccine allocations are determined by Operation Warp Speed.

Additional details on phases and tiers beyond Phase 1B - Tier 2 can be found at www.MOStopsCovid.com. Public announcements will be made as later phases in the state’s vaccination plan are activated.

A white sheet summarizing Phase 1B Tiers is attached. More information regarding COVID-19 vaccines and Missouri’s vaccination plan can be found at www.MOstopsCovid.com.

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