St. Louisans taking road trips to get the COVID vaccine

Missouri

ST. LOUIS – With limited coronavirus vaccine availability in the St. Louis area, some area residents are hopping in the cars and taking a road trip through Missouri to get the vaccine.

Patricia Burton drove about three hours roundtrip. Sally Miller drove from Wildwood to Caruthersville to get her shot, a 6-hour roundtrip that she said was well worth it.

Dr. Alex Garza, head of the St. Louis Metro Pandemic Task Force, said he understands why people are driving hours to get the vaccine since there is such limited supply.

“I can’t fault people for travelling long distances in order to get access to vaccine and in reality, any person that’s vaccinated is a good thing,” he said. “The bottom line though is there is a very limited supply right now and through no fault of anybody, it’s not just here in St. Louis, it’s across the country.”

Wherever you get the vaccine the first time is where you have to get the second dose, which, for some people, just means more driving.

“It just didn’t seem right that we would have to drive that far, being a big area here, to drive that far to get a vaccine,” Burton said. “It just doesn’t seem to be enough here in this area for the population there is.”

Dr. Garza said the long trips do bring concerns of equity.

“It does raise some questions about equity, because clearly people who have the means to travel or have the support system to travel are different than those who do not,” he said.

Those who have had the opportunity to drive the distance for the vaccine said they know not everyone can do it, but would recommend it if you were able.

“I know a lot of people can’t travel three hours to get the vaccination and it’s not right; it’s just not right,” Miller said.

Miller and Burton both credit a Facebook group, St. Louis and Eastern Missouri COVID-19 Vaccine Info, which consists of more than 3400 residents helping each other find out where openings for the vaccine are, how to sign up, and numbers to call if needed.

“We got on the Facebook page and a lot of people were helping each other out saying where they had seen openings and things like that, so I really appreciate everyone trying to help each other out, it seemed like all the people trying to help each other needed it badly,” Burton said.

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