ST. LOUIS — The State of Missouri is moving on to the next phase of its COVID-19 vaccination plan.
Last week, the state activated Phase 1B-Tier 1, which prioritizes vaccinating those who work to keep Missourians safe and help in emergencies. This group includes health care workers, first responders, emergency management workers and those in the emergency services sector.
Beginning Monday, Jan. 18, the state will start vaccinating individuals in Phase 1B-Tier 2. This phase includes high-risk populations and everyone who is 65 and older. It'll open up the vaccine to millions of Missourians.
Phase 1B-Tier 2 includes:
- Anyone 65 and older
- Adults with the following conditions:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Intellectual and/or developmental disabilities such as Down Syndrome
- Heart conditions
- Weakened immune system due to organ transplant
- Severe obesity (BMI > 40)
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
This tier includes about 2.5 million people, which is about 40% of the state’s population.
Health care providers will continue to vaccinate the Phase 1A population even as the vaccination process opens up to the next phases.
Those who are administering the vaccine to the Phase 1A group who have available supply can begin giving the shot to those in the Phase 1B-Tier 1 and Phase 1B-Tier 2 groups.
“Beginning the activation of Phase 1B is all about saving lives and protecting those most vulnerable to exposure and illness from this virus,” Governor Mike Parson said last week in announcing the plans. “We are looking forward to increased vaccine supply in the coming weeks as supply is the leading factor that dictates our movement through our plan. The more supply we receive, the quicker we can reach our goal of making vaccines available to every Missourian who wants one.”
Individuals in Phase 1A and Phase 1B-Tier 1 should work through their employer and/or association to access the vaccine.
Individuals in Phase 1B-Tier 2 should contact their local pharmacy or health care provider or visit Missouri's COVID-19 vaccine website to learn when vaccines may be available and how to receive them.
More information about who is included in the Phase 1A and Phase 1B groups is included in the document below.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) said the state is still experiencing an “exceptionally limited” supply of the COVID-19 vaccines.
DHSS said before contacting a vaccinator on the state’s map, people should understand that many vaccination sites are still awaiting supplies from the federal government.
Although vaccinators are listed on the map doesn’t mean the provider has any vaccines on hand or the ability to order them at this time. It also doesn’t mean the provider has an intent to publicly distribute vaccines.
Ahead of Phase 1B-Tier 2, 5 On Your Side checked in with local county health departments on vaccine shipments.
St. Louis County and St. Clair County had received shipments of the vaccine, but the City of St. Louis health department was still waiting, along with Lincoln, Jefferson and Pike counties.
We asked St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force Director Dr. Alex Garza about that. While he doesn't have a say in the decision-making process, he believes it could be based on several factors.
“The decision process might've been based on population or it might've been based on risk populations within those counties," Garza said.