Missouri to start vaccinating teachers, grocery store workers on March 15

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Governor Mike Parson announced that Missouri will start administering vaccines to Phase 1B, Tier 3 starting March 15. The new tier will include K-12 teachers, child care providers, grocery store workers, and other critical infrastructure employees.

“We have had a vaccine plan since October and this plan has not changed,” Parson said. “The data shows we are winning the fight.”

Gov. Parson said this new tier will make 550,000 additional Missourians eligible to be vaccinated. He says with all the phases that are in effect there are about 3.5 million people eligible to get the vaccine.

“They are the workers in many of the industries we depend on each day to keep our day to day lives operating normally,” Parson said.

Currently the state is vaccinating those 65 years and old, health care workers and those with pre-existing health conditions.

Gov. Parson said many of those people eligible have already received the vaccine and there are about 40% that are choosing not to get vaccinated.

Officials say adding more eligible people will allow the state to continue to make progress as the supply of vaccines increase.

Gov. Parson said Missouri received 120,000 initial doses this week and plans on receiving 128,500 next week. That is an increase from approximately 76,000 a week earlier this month. Currently, 12 percent of the state’s population has received at least the first dose of the vaccine.

During his press conference, the governor touched on the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. He said if the vaccine gets federally approved this weekend, Missouri is set to receive around 50,000 doses next week. A spokeswoman from Parson’s office said the J & J vaccine could be used for mass vaccinations events since only one dose is needed.

Parson also telling Missourians, there is no vaccine divide between urban and rural areas.

“We are getting that vaccine to St. Louis just as we are to the rural areas, just as much as we are to Kansas City and the last thing we need is some kind of divide between rural Missouri and urban,” Parson said.

The governor said he’s aware of people in urban areas driving to mass vaccination sites in other parts of the state for their shot.

“Some of these tougher communities to get to, we need to do a better job getting vaccine to them,” Parson said. “And that means the cities need to do a better job. We need to do a better job by sending the National Guard in there to do a target vaccine. We all have that responsibility.”

Parson said if the steady increase in vaccine supply continues, Phase 2 will become eligible by the end of April.

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