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State hopes to vaccinate all health-care workers against COVID-19 by end of January


The state plans to have all health-care workers in Missouri vaccinated against coronavirus by the end of January.

Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, laid out the timeline for distribution of the first vaccine doses during a COVID-19 briefing Thursday at the Missouri Capitol. Williams said the state plans to have all nursing home residents and staff vaccinated by mid-January.

The state will receive an initial shipment of 51,000 vaccine doses in mid-December, Williams said. Another 64,000 doses of the vaccine manufactured by Pfizer and 105,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine will follow on Dec. 21, Williams said.

Watch a replay of the briefing in the player below.

The initial doses will go to 21 sites, Williams said. The state will use a partnership with Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy for vaccinating nursing home residents and medical workers.

Gov. Mike Parson urged Missourians to use caution and take steps to prevent spread of the coronavirus such as wearing masks and socially distancing until the vaccine arrives. Cases are surging across the state, with much of Missouri in the White House's "red zone" for high rates of new infections.

"Everyone is affected. Every community is at risk. And we all have a part to play in getting through this," Parson said.

The vaccine won't be available to the general public for several months, Parson said.

Parson also announced a study of coronavirus in schools being conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Washington University and St. Louis University. Parson has repeatedly said that children should be in school for their well-being despite the spread of coronavirus cases.

The study will involve testing children exposed to coronavirus in schools to determine how the virus spreads in that environment.

"Schools that consistently implement mitigation strategies remain among the safest places for students, which is why we have continually encouraged schools to put these strategies in place," Parson said.

Hospital staffing

Parson provided a brief update on a plan to help provide staff for hospitals strained by COVID-19 patients and staff shortages.

Parson unveiled a plan Wednesday to contract with private company Vizient for extra staff to help in Missouri hospitals. The 12-week partnership will expand state hospital bed numbers by more than 600, Parson said Wednesday.

On Thursday, Parson said 12 health care systems have signed up for the program, including BJC HealthCare and SSM Health, each of which operates in Mid-Missouri. Representatives of Boone Hospital Center and St. Mary's Hospital said they are interested in the program and have asked the state for more information.

A University of Missouri Health Care spokesman said Thursday that MU Health leaders were meeting to determine whether to take part in the program.

The state will pay for the workers through the end of the year, after which hospitals will have to pick up the tab.

Jefferson City Video / Missouri / News / Top Stories / Video
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Matthew Sanders

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


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