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ST. LOUIS – Finding enough people in rural counties across Missouri who want the COVID vaccine is leaving thousands of surplus doses unused. This is happening as people in urban areas are desperate for a dose and are driving hours just to get in line.

The Missouri Department of Public Health and Safety said more than 7,500 doses of the COVID vaccine were leftover statewide after mass vaccination events during the last week of February.

The Missouri Department of Public Safety records shows the remaining doses were usually transferred to another provider in the area or held by the health department for later use.

According to health officials in one rural county, 20 percent of the doses are being given to people who are from more than 100 miles away.

Governor Mike Parson has announced that beginning with the week of March 29, the state will shift its allocations to a system based on the number of unvaccinated, eligible people in each region rather than just by population.

More COVID-19 vaccines are promised for the St. Louis area. Starting this week, the state of Missouri will send 15 percent of its supply to selected pharmacies across the state. Many are in the St. Louis area.

The CDC reported at least two million Americans are getting shots every day. Nearly 88 million shots have been given so far. Dr. Anthony Fauci said those numbers will go up now that a third vaccine has been approved.

Certain providers in the Metro East will also be reciving 3,500 more COVID vaccine doses.