Dr. Randall Williams updates as COVID-19 vaccines gradually arrive in Missouri

State Health Director hopeful state is in a “much better place” in May or June
Published: Jan. 18, 2021 at 4:54 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Missouri has officially entered a new phase in its COVID-19 vaccination plan.

Monday marks the start of Phase 1B, Tier 2, which focuses on helping people who are pregnant or adults over 65 who are at risk for severe illnesses related to coronavirus. People with intellectual or developmental disabilities are also eligible.

If you’re not in those categories, you may have to wait awhile.

“We are constrained by the amount of vaccine we get,” said Dr. Randall Williams, Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. “We have no control over that, so what we do have control over is making sure that, as soon as we get it, it’s distributed.”

As of Sunday, around 200,000 vaccines have been administered statewide. It’s a far cry from the number of people who are now eligible to receive it.

“As you can imagine, the universe of 1B, Tier 1 and 2 and 1A, is almost 3 million people,” said Dr. Williams. “That’s half the state of Missouri.”

But the supply of incoming vaccines has been slow, which Dr. Williams said isn’t unexpected.

“It would not surprise me at all if we’re only getting 70,000 vaccines a week, or 74,000-80,000 I guess now,” said Dr. Williams.

That means most will have to wait to receive it, even after they sign up.

“We will need people to be patient as we work through that universe of three million people,” he said.

But even though it has been a slow process so far, Dr. Williams is hopeful for the future.

“As we look around the state and see the morbidity and mortality the virus has caused, we’re incredibly appreciative that we have a tool now that we think is gonna get us in Missouri to a much better place, and fairly quickly, I think by May or June.”

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