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Health officials hopeful expanding vaccine eligibility could lead to coronavirus herd immunity by end of May


Phase 3 of Missouri's vaccination plan is now open making all Missouri residents old enough to get a coronavirus vaccine eligible for the shot. Health officials are hopeful this will soon lead to herd immunity.

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director Dr. Randall Williams said he hopes to have 75% of the population vaccinated by the end of May.

"We continue our efforts beyond that, as long as people want one we will be robustly vaccinating," Williams said.

The state expects to see a sustained increase in vaccine supply now that more Missourians are eligible. Williams said Missouri expects 250,000 to 300,000 doses a week counting federal partners plus the state allotment.

"We really think we are moving very rapidly in which we are transitioning into having to get demand up, we are already seeing that around Missouri," Williams said.

Nearly 3 million shots have been administered in Missouri, with nearly 1.2 million people having completed vaccination, according to the state's numbers. About 30% of the state has started vaccination and about 19% of Missouri has completed vaccination.

Brad Myers, pharmacy and lab services manager with MU Health Care, said he expects to see an increase in people signing up for the vaccine as more become eligible.

"I do anticipate with this event coming up we will see an increased uptick of our appointment slots," Myers said. "It's in the right step to herd immunity."

MU Health Care is now offering nearly 7,000 COVID-19 vaccine appointment slots to all Missouri adults next Thursday through Saturday.

Initially, MU Health Care only received 4,000 doses for a two-day vaccination event. Myers said he doesn't know at this time if MU Health will continue to benefit from higher-than-expected allocations. He said the number of doses MU Health receives for future events will be dependent in part on demand at next week's clinic.

This clinic is a part of a new collaboration with the state and Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services.

First-dose appointments are available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and second doses will be scheduled 21 days later.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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Zola Crowder

Zola Crowder joined the ABC 17 News team as a multimedia journalist in June 2020 after graduating from the University of Missouri with a broadcast journalism degree. Before reporting at ABC 17, Zola was a reporter at KOMU where she learned to cover politics, crime, education, economics and more.


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