JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri has submitted its plan to the CDC, which outlines who will first receive the impending COVID-19 vaccine, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said Thursday.
The first doses will go toward "reducing or stopping death and disability" by reducing stress on health care systems caring for affected patients. The state said it plans to collaborate with health care systems and pharmacy and community partners to vaccinate long-term care facility staff and other health care workers.
As the vaccine becomes more readily available, the vaccine would be distributed among those most at risk, including those who are elderly and those with medical conditions placing them at high risk for poor outcomes.
Next, the vaccine will be offered to essential workers in schools and critical businesses. The final phase of the plan will help ensure every Missourian who wants a vaccine will be able to receive one.
Missouri’s planning efforts are based upon CDC guidance to anticipate a phased availability of vaccines within the state.
Gov. Parson was joined by Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Director Dr. Randall Williams during a Thursday briefing to announce the completion of the plan, which was due to the CDC by Oct. 16.
“This has been an incredible collaborative effort, and I want to thank all of the agencies and partners involved for their hard work and dedication. In the midst of an ever-changing and unprecedented situation, our team of professionals has done outstanding work to develop a detailed plan,” Gov. Parson said. “We are in a great place in the planning process and will be well-prepared to take action as soon as a vaccine becomes available.”
According to a release from the governor’s office, in April, the CDC began communicating with the DHSS Bureau of Immunizations regarding early planning efforts, and multi-agency planning began in July. The next month, more than 75 state team members, 10 Missouri National Guardsmen and 50 federal and local parents began working together for the vaccine response plan. Missouri received the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook one month ago.
“We have worked diligently for months, even before we received this direction from the CDC, to ensure we are prepared for when the time comes to execute the plans to distribute and administer the vaccine,” Dr. Williams said. “We’re grateful to our partners who have shared their knowledge and expertise and will continue to assist us moving forward.”
“Missouri’s long-term care facilities employ tens of thousands of essential health care workers dedicated to caring for our residents who are most vulnerable to COVID-19 due to their age and underlying health conditions,” said Nikki Strong, Executive Director of the Missouri Health Care Association. “The asymptomatic nature of this virus makes it difficult to keep it from entering long-term care facilities through these essential staff. We applaud Governor Parson and his team for recognizing this and developing a vaccination plan that puts the staff and residents in Missouri’s long-term care facilities at the highest level of priority once a proven vaccine is available.”
The governor’s office said efforts will be made to reach essential workers in schools and critical businesses. As availability continues to increase, the plan’s final phase will help ensure every Missourian who wants a vaccination is able to obtain one.
“COVID-19 highlights the importance of prevention,” Missouri Primary Care Association CEO Joe Pierle said. “On behalf of the federally-qualified health centers throughout the state, we stand ready to be a vital and integral partner in preventing individual patients from contracting the disease and helping mitigate community spread.”
To view Missouri's plan, click here