JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)
As President Joe Biden moves into the White House, Missouri leaders are already working with the new administration to get out more of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Dr. Randall Williams said Wednesday he has received details about the plan from the Biden administration.
He said the White House asked him Wednesday for more information about the state's vaccine distribution, which he said he would provide them later in the day.
"They are putting out plans, so we will very much so interact with them," Williams said.
The new president has a goal to get out 100 million vaccines during his first 100 days. States play a large role in the vaccination process, and Governor Mike Parson said he will work with the administration to help Missouri in anyway he can.
"I hope everything they are saying is correct, the quicker we get the vaccine out, the better, for the ones that want it," Parson said.
Parson activated the National Guard to help run mass vaccination clinics across the state. He said this will help Missouri prepare for when more vaccine is widely available.
"We are preparing for that everyday, I think that is why the National Guard is activated," Parson said.
He said the Missouri House of Representatives and Senate likely won't play a large role in the vaccine distribution by passing any new legislation.
Parson and Williams said the state's recent coronavirus case trends are a reason for celebration. Missouri is in the top 10 of states for fewest cases over the last seven days, Williams said.
The positivity rate of 12.4% is nearly half what it was in November, Parson said.
“And unlike other states, Missouri did not see dramatic increases in cases over the holidays or the weeks following,” Parson said. This week that number has fallen five percentage points, he said.
However, Parson said hospitalizations remain high, causing continued strain on hospitals. The timeline for wide vaccine availability is fluid, meaning Missourians must continue to take precautions such as wearing masks and distancing, Parson said.
Williams said state officials have already been in contact with the administration of President Joe Biden, who was sworn in Wednesday. Biden has pledged to speed up vaccination by administering 100 million doses in his first 100 days.
As of Wednesday, 441,789 Missourians have tested positive for COVID-19 and 6,461 have died from it since the pandemic started.