JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – More than 325,000 Missourians have received at least one dose of the vaccine, that’s a little more than 5 percent of the state’s population, but according to the state health department, Missouri has only administered half of the vaccine they’ve been given.
Gov. Mike Parson spoke one-on-one with our Missouri Chief Capitol Bureau Reporter Emily Manley Thursday.
Parson said the state is on the right track when it comes to vaccinations.
According to the Department of Health and Senior Services, Missouri has been given 822,850 doses as of Thursday but only has administered 423,839.
Parson said the state will soon be taking doses from CVS and Walgreens because they are not using the doses they were given by the federal government for a partnership between the pharmacies and long-term care facilities.
“We are going to take some of that allocation, the state is,” Parson said. “We’re going to put it in wherever we need to put it in, to health care facilities across the state.”
According to the Department of Health and Senior Services, CVS and Walgreens have been given 332,000 doses of Moderna, but have only used about 61,405.
“They definitely overestimated,” Parson said. “We’re going to be taking some of those doses back and getting them put out across the state.”
Parson said the state is getting blamed for the thousands of doses CVS and Walgreens have leftover, but it’s a federal contract.
“And frankly it’s not been as well as I think they predicted it would go,” Parson said. “I think you need to realize too, we got tagged for that and that’s a federal contract with a federal program.”
Earlier this week, the CDC ranked Missouri last compared to the other 50 states when it came to administering the vaccine, but Parson said that’s misleading.
“Even the CDC, which I talked to the White House this week, we’re not the only state that’s having problems with reporting and how people are utilizing the data,” Parson said. “There are a lot of moving pieces to a statewide vaccine program. Just collecting the data is an obstacle in itself.”
When asked if he’s heard of any places in the state that might be holding their vaccine because they are worried about the second dose coming in from the federal government, Parson said, “Most certainly.”
“If people are sitting on doses in the healthcare system, we’re going to make public if that is happening. We know that in some areas, they have say on doses and we’re not going to let that happen,” Parson said. “We’re going to call that out, we’re going to make that public who has doses, when they get it out and how long they’ve had it, on the dashboard in the near future.”
Earlier this week, Parson’s office released a dashboard for the vaccine, like the dashboard of COVID cases in the state.
When Manley asked Parson where those places are in the state, she didn’t get an answer.
“You know, well, we’re just going to have to do that,” Parson responded. “But again, when you look at the data of this, we’re going to expose where we’re sending it, how much they have and how much they have on hand.”
During a press conference Thursday, DHSS Director Dr. Randall Williams said there’s no discrepancy of the vaccine reporting in the state.
“I do not believe that is an issue here in Missouri reporting, but having said that, we watch it like a hawk,” Williams said. “When we see, especially in the large health care systems because they get very much large amounts of vaccine, when we see a little bit of a discrepancy, if they have 10,000, they’ve administered 5,000, where are the other 5,000. We call them.”
Williams said the state receive 85,000 more doses of the vaccine Wednesday.
Parson said as soon as the state gets a shipment, it’s going into arms.
“But at the end of the day, all the vaccine coming into our state is getting deployed out in a week to health care agencies across the state,” Parson said. “The demand is so much larger than the supply.”
Besides the vaccine, Parson said the state is third in the nation for the lowest number of COVID cases per 100,000 people.
Within the next week, there are nine mass vaccination sites opening across the state with the help of the Missouri National Guard and the local county health departments.
More than 2,000 people can be vaccinated a day at each location.
There will be one site in each of the nine Missouri State Highway Patrol Regions.