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Many in Mid-Missouri wait for coronavirus vaccine amid limited supply

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Missouri's governor is warning about limited vaccine supplies and local health-care providers are behind in vaccinating vulnerable people as a new administration takes over the presidency with promises to speed up the process.

New President Joe Biden has promised to provide 100 million coronavirus vaccinations in his first 100 days in office.

But many local health departments say their areas are behind in the vaccination process because of the supply shortage. In the meantime, they have set up surveys for people to register for shots as they become available. Health departments in Boone, Callaway and Cole counties all have surveys set up for people to sign up for shots or get more information about vaccine availability.

Margaret Day, MU Health Care family medicine doctor and a member of the vaccine committee, says they have plans for these max vaccinations promised by the Biden administration.

"Hiring many people here in terms of really standing up a substantial process to be able to vaccinate lots of people," is important as they enter additional phases, said Day.

"We only expect more manufacturing as promised by the Biden administration," said Day.

Day says, they are responding to the governor's call on Jan. 14 of the start of additional phases of vaccine distribution.

"In response to that, we are setting up vaccine clinics here at MU," said Day. "We think we will be more effective getting these vaccines to the most people by having these specific locations and specific clinics."

MU Health Department continues to wait on the appropriate amount of supply of the vaccine, but Day confirms that so far the promised doses have arrived.

Day says that administrators need to order around 1,000 doses at a time and that can be challenging to administer vaccines to much fewer people than that.

MU Health has their own online survey for the vaccine and in five days, they've has over 10,000 completed surveys. They only expect that number to increase.

Many health department say they don't know when they will receive more doses and the state says it can't tell them.

Sarah Humm, Columbia/Boone County public health and human services, says the state has not given them any new information with the transfer of power.

"Our team is working to secure some locations so that we do have the capacity when the time comes to vaccinate a large group of people," says Humm.

For now, Humm says they will continue to contact people for vaccinations through their online surveys as they become available.

"As of this morning, we had about 17,000 people signed up for that and we are getting hundreds or thousands even every day," says Humm.

The transition into each tier and phase has also been unclear throughout health departments.

"We are unable to predict at this time when we may be able to transition into future tiers and phases," Lisa Cox, spokeswoman for the state Department of Health and Senior Services, said Tuesday, referencing the state's coronavirus vaccination plan.

Cox said about 410,000 doses have been shipped from manufacturers to vaccinators. The state never receives the doses. That number does not include vaccines shipped to pharmacies serving long-term care facilities.

About 235,000 doses have been administered statewide.

Vaccinators will get about 76,000 doses next week, Cox said.

Gov. Mike Parson called the supply on Wednesday "exceptionally limited," adding that many vaccinators are still waiting on supplies from the federal government.

Health care providers, like local health departments, are gearing up plans for mass vaccinations despite the uncertainty about when that will happen.

University of Missouri Health Care said Tuesday that it will use Faurot Field as a mass vaccination site. MU Health also launched an online survey for the public to learn when the COVID-19 vaccine will be available to them.

The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services is also planning for mass vaccination clinics.

Columbia Video / Coronavirus / Health / Missouri / Top Stories / Video
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Chanel Porter

Chanel joined ABC 17 News in January 2021 after graduating from Penn State University. She enjoys traveling and a daily iced coffee.

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