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Coronavirus

Missouri releases COVID-19 vaccination plan

Gov Parson Sept 16
Governor Mike Parson
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson speaks Sept. 16, 2020, in the Missouri Capitol.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

Missouri officials submitted a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan to the CDC on Thursday, Gov. Mike Parson said.

Parson said Missouri got its "playbook" for the blueprint from the CDC a month ago, but the plan has been in the works since August. Other states are looking to Missouri's plan when making their own, Parson said.

He also warned the public to beware of media reports about the plan in coming days.

"Between now and Election Day, some media will utilize that to try and put misinformation in the public’s eyes," Parson said of the plan.

What the public should take away from the plan is that Missouri is prepared to take the next step in the coronavirus fight, Parson said. The governor has been criticized by political opponents for his handling of the pandemic and a perceived lack of action to slow the virus spread in Missouri.

Dr. Randall Williams, head of the Missouri Department of Health and Human Services, said at Parson's briefing Thursday that the state is planning to get a limited supply of vaccine in late November or early December. Several companies are working on coronavirus vaccines and all of them remain in trial stages.

Watch playback of the briefing in the player below.

Williams said the state will prioritize getting the limited vaccine to the most vulnerable population, including nursing home residents. Health care and other essential workers will be among the first to get vaccinated as well, according to a state news release.

“Our North Star is always individual patients. Our second North Star is always preventing spread in the community,” Williams said.

It isn't clear how many doses Missouri might get or how quickly they would be delivered.

Williams said the state has also worked on regulations for when the free vaccine is distributed.

Thousands of doctors and nurses have already signed up to receive doses of the vaccine, Williams said.

The state expects to get feedback on the document from the CDC by Oct. 16.

Parson also talked about a data error that led to the health department's website erroneously reporting more than 5,000 new cases Saturday. The site did not report any new case totals until Wednesday as the department worked on the problem.

The problem stemmed from health department workers noticing an error in how data was imported into the reporting software, Parson said.

"I want to point out, the issue was a technology error in the system," Parson said. "The data was not lost and all new cases still have been and will continue to be reported in an accurate and timely fashion to the public. As we have said many times, we are in an unprecedented situation."

Parson said the health department has handled more than 2.2 million records during the COVID-19 pandemic.

New cases are on the rise with about 1,400 new cases per day last week, Parson said. Hospitalizations are also increasing, but Parson said hospitals are meeting the demand. He said the fatality rate from the virus in Missouri has reached 1.6%.

Parson also touted a saliva-based test that will provide shorter turnaround times for test results. He appeared at a Kansas City hospital Thursday morning to mark the delivery of a machine to test the samples.

One of the machines is set for delivery to central Missouri, but it's not yet clear where it will be located.

Truman Medical Center in Kansas City will be one of the first hospitals in Missouri to offer a saliva-based COVID-19 test, according to a Thursday morning tweet.

Parson met with hospital representatives in the morning going over how the medical center will receive resources to deliver the test.

Recently, the governor's office reported it spent $1 million of CARES Act funding to purchase four of the saliva-based testing machines.

In August, the FDA approved Washington University to administer the test.

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.

Matt Ragsdale

Matt Ragsdale is a broadcast and digital producer at ABC 17 News.

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