Governor Parson outlines options for getting Missouri vaccine

Published: Jan. 20, 2021 at 6:46 PM CST
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A lot of people are anxious to find out where and when they can get the COVID-19 vaccine and as you would expect there’s a lot of speculation and misinformation on social media.

For example, Missouri State University got almost a thousand doses this week and there were complaints on-line about why students had access to shots before the older folks.

They don’t.

““It’s not the general student body,” replied MSU Safety Director David Hall when asked who was getting the vaccine. “The ones that are getting the vaccine are those that fit into the state’s approved criteria. Category 1A is anyone within the campus related to healthcare and Category 1B Tier 1 and Tier 2 which includes campus safety, police officers and those that are at high risk which would be those age 65 and over or having underlying health conditions. Higher-Ed does not fall into the criteria until it gets to Phase 2. We’re just now in Phase 1B-Tier 2 so we have a ways to go before our general campus, even our faculty, would even be eligible to receive the vaccines.”

It’s that kind of statewide consternation that had Missouri Governor Mike Parson releasing on his Facebook page on Wednesday the options for those across the state in seeking the vaccine.

He started, however, by pointing out that “Right now there is an exceptionally limited supply of vaccine available in Missouri, and Missouri’s supply is dependent on the allocations of vaccines determined by Operation Warp Speed and the federal government.”

Dr. Randall Williams, the Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, said at an afternoon news conference that the state was only getting about 76,000 doses-per-week and more than 2.5 million people are currently eligible to receive it.

So patience is key.

As far as options, the Governor’s post said that the first option is having the vaccine come to you. This is employer-initiated where your employer contracts out to have vaccines done at work.

The second option is making an appointment with your health care provider, pharmacy, or contacting your local public health agency. As the Governor pointed out, NOW is the time to call and schedule an appointment to get on the waiting list so when the supply does increase, you’ll be on the list.

And the third option is going to community events which are still to be determined and will also require you to sign-up ahead of time.

Governor Parson did announce though that the National Guard will be used to help set up vaccination sites all across the state.

A mass vaccination site is scheduled to begin this week in the Southeastern region, and other sites will be operational in the remaining eight Highway Patrol regions by the end of January. These sites have the capability to provide up to 2,500 doses per day, per team. More details concerning dates and locations will be released once finalized.

Missourians are encouraged to visit to see the latest vaccine updates, find out when they are eligible for the vaccine, and locate available vaccinators in their area.

The latest numbers released by the state show Missouri has received over half-a-million doses of vaccine but administered only about 250,000 of those, which is less than 50 percent.

“The big part of the difference is due to the delay in reporting,” Governor Parson said. “Currently there are at least 68 vaccinators that are manually reporting data which slows the process and creates a backlog of paperwork.”

Dr. Williams pointed out that the state only determines who gets the vaccines but doesn’t actually handle the medicine. It goes directly from the manufacturers to the providers.

“We never get the vaccine physically at the state,” Williams said. “We don’t have a big warehouse where there’s 100,000 doses of vaccine. We are convinced that in Missouri there is no hoarding or no stockpiling or no inefficiency in getting the vaccines in. That’s to the best of our knowledge.”

And there is one other interesting note. While you do have to vouch that you qualify in a particular category when you sign up for a shot, no one is going to ask for verification.

“When they sign-up for a slot they’re given the eligibility criteria and they sign to certify that they’re meeting that criteria,” Hall explained. “We don’t require them to provide the actual letter from their physician saying they’ve got this underlying health condition. We’re taking them at their word. The state feels like we’ll have good stewards and that people as a general rule are gonna be understanding that we need to vaccinate those that are high-at-risk and those in essential services.”

Hall also said that as more vaccine supply becomes available, Missouri State will be partnering with other vaccinators to give shots to the public who are not part of the university’s family.

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