When a COVID vaccine is available in Missouri, it will be distributed in phases


ST. LOUIS – Missouri has released a plan to make sure all citizens can receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.

“Best case scenario, I believe, is going to be around the December time frame for the first arrival of vaccine,” said Dr. Alex Garza, head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force.

Missouri’s vaccine distribution plan is more than 100 pages.

Garza said the vaccine will be given out in three phases.

“It’s not like we’re going to have an abundance of vaccine on day one; it’s going to take while into 2021,” he said.

The first group to be inoculated will be residents at risk: the elderly, those with medical conditions, and health care workers.

Second are the critical workers that keep communities functioning.

The last group – the general public.

Dr. Garza said drug companies Moderna and Pfizer are two of the leading candidates for producing a vaccine. Pfizer is creating a vaccine at its Chesterfield location. Some people won’t get the one that’s approved until even more testing is done.

“The vaccine will not be available for children or pregnant women because those phase three trials have not been done in that group as of now,” said Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

Pfizer has just begun testing the vaccine on children as young as 12.

“We want to make sure that a vaccine—before we make it widely available to children—has been shown as effective in children as it has in adults,” said Dr. Rachel Charney, Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital.

Charney believes if it is it shown safe and effective, younger children will be tested next.

Meanwhile, Garza said the CDC has to approve Missouri’s distribution plan and we should learn the federal agency’s reaction sometime this month.

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