COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Gov. Mike Parson said after his inauguration Monday that the state plans to move into the next phase of its coronavirus vaccination plan next week.
Parson said so far the state has vaccinated over 150,000 people within Phase 1A.
The state's coronavirus vaccination plan is broken into four different phases; 1A, 1B, 2 and 3. Phase 1A includes patient-facing health-care workers and long-term care facility residents and staff. Phase 1B includes essential workers, high-risk individuals and anyone over the age of 65. Phase 2 is for populations at increased risk and Phase 3 includes all residents in the state of Missouri.
High-risk individuals include those who may have an increased risk of COVID-19 because of underlying health issues such as chronic kidney disease, a body mass index over 30, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, hypertension and chronic heart disease.
The essential workers in Phase 1B include first responders, childcare workers, teachers and education staff, energy workers, water and wastewater workers, critical manufacturing workers and food and agricultural workers.
Local health departments are planning for the next stage of the vaccine rollout, as they await instructions from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.
A spokesperson for Parson's office said the state plans to hold a press briefing to update the vaccine rollout this week but details have not been finalized.
The novel coronavirus has sickened more than 427,000 Missourians since the pandemic began in March. The state has reported more than 6,000 deaths. And the number of people with COVID-19 in the state's hospitals remains near record levels.
"As time goes on and more and more people get vaccinated we will be able to start looking at resuming more normal activities and keeping our community safe.", said Dr. Robin Blount, the Chief Medical Officer at Boone Hospital.
Dr. Blount like many other health care professionals is concerned with vaccinating Phase 1B with such a limited supply of vaccine doses that the hospitals are experiencing.
“We are certainly aware of some concerns about the supply of vaccine because it is very sparse at the moment, there were some folks who thought we would get through this vaccination process fairly quickly and that’s just not the case and so moving into what potentially could be a bigger group there certainly are some concerns about vaccination availability.", said Sara Humm, spokesperson for Boone County Public Health and Human Services Department.
Dr. Blount said the hospitals do not have unlimited amounts of vaccine doses to use and it could be a concern moving to the next phase of vaccine rollout. She says the state will have to break Phase 1B down into different tiers and provide vaccines to those who need it most first.
Blount said people need to get the vaccine in order to keep the community safe.
"Vaccines work and this is a deadly disease People need to take the vaccine not only to protect themselves but their loved ones around them it's just the right thing to do I personally view it as a civic duty.", said Dr. Robin Blount.