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Missouri to ramp up mass vaccination events in St. Louis area

Parson acknowledged while the state’s plan calls for equal distribution based on population, there are people in certain areas who aren’t as eager to get the shot

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The demand for COVID-19 vaccines in the St. Louis area is clear. Now, the state is making changes to get more doses into the area.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson announced Thursday afternoon that the state next week will begin shifting more teams to the St. Louis and Kansas City areas to accommodate more large-scale events.

Parson acknowledged that while the state’s plan calls for an equal distribution based on population, there are people in certain areas who aren’t as eager to get the shot.

“While vaccine distribution is based on population throughout each region, we do recognize some Missourians are less interested in receiving a vaccine than others,” Gov. Parson said. “Vaccine interest is often highest in the urban populations.”

Three teams will be stationed in Region C, which covers several counties in the greater St. Louis area, and two will be in the Kansas City area’s Region A. The transition starts next week and will be complete by April 1.

Gov. Parson has been criticized by local leaders for not sending the St. Louis area enough vaccine doses, including the county and city health departments going weeks at a time without getting doses from the state. Parson has repeatedly defended the state's distribution plan. Just this week, Kansas City’s mayor wrote a letter asking the federal government to make sure the state’s urban residents get better access to coronavirus vaccines.

The governor and state health director Dr. Randall Williams both stressed Thursday that the state is expecting to get an ever-increasing number of vaccines, especially with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine getting authorized for emergency use over the weekend.

“In the months of April and May we are going to have a very large amount of vaccine,” Dr. Williams said.

Missouri has gone from getting about 50,000 vaccine doses at first in January to about 235,000 doses last week. During a visit in St. Louis County earlier in the day, Parson said at that rate the state could be administering “a million a month in the very near future.”

“We just need more vaccine, and it’s coming,” he said. “It’s just going to take another 30-45 days before we turn another corner.”

For more information about how you or a loved one can get on a registration list near you, follow our full COVID-19 vaccine registration coverage here.

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