Gov. Parson says some vaccination sites aren’t following Missouri’s priority list

Published: Feb. 4, 2021 at 9:40 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Missouri’s governor said some vaccination sites are not following the rules when it comes to who should be receiving the coronavirus vaccine right now. Some local pharmacies are making sure the right people are getting priority.

Alps Pharmacy, with locations in Springfield and Nixa, has held six vaccination clinics in the last week. A co-owner says Alps is one of the lucky few independent pharmacies that even has shots in stock.

“Some of these people haven’t left their homes since last March. This is such a freeing feeling for them,” said Melody Savley.

In the last week, Melody Savley said Alps Pharmacy has vaccinated health care workers, first responders, high-risk teachers, the elderly and those with chronic conditions. Before they show up to a clinic, she said, they have to sign up online and answer questions to make sure they qualify for the shots.

“And then we need to know if they’ve had a vaccine, if this is their first or second vaccine. Of course, once they get here, we go over all of that,” she said.

Missouri’s health director said at least a couple of vaccination sites have purposefully not followed the priority list set by the state. Dr. Randall Williams said sites that don’t will be reprimanded.

“It is in the DNA of Missourians to care for other people, but it’s also of Missourians to be fair,” he said.

Governor Mike Parson said the need for discipline is vital.

“With the supply that we have, we have to give it to the most vulnerable people and people with the highest risk,” Parson said.

Savley said there are 50 independent pharmacies like hers that signed up to be vaccination sites in Missouri. However, she says, many have not received their first doses.

“If you’ve noticed, in some of the other states, like West Virginia, they’ve been the top in the nation because they’ve used the independent pharmacies,” she said. “We can kind of make decisions on the fly and we’re very passionate about getting people vaccinated.”

Savley said her people go above and beyond to get people what they need. She said community pharmacies have been overlooked as a dependable resource for the vaccine roll out, even though customers rely on them.

“It’s what we do. We are their vaccinator. They come to us for flu shots. We fill their medications. They talk to us, we’re very accessible. They’re asking us questions,” she said.

She said getting vaccines out as fast as possible is imperative to reach herd immunity.

Savley said the state just needs to give local pharmacies a chance to help.

“If they would send us a thousand doses tomorrow, we could get all those done next week,” she said.

Alps Pharmacy will finish distributing its 1,000 doses at a clinic tomorrow. Then it’ll wait for more to give to the 2,000 people on its COVID-19 vaccine wait list.

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