Missouri Gov. Mike Parson activated the National Guard on Wednesday to help get more people the coronavirus vaccine as doses become available to the state.
There will be nine National Guard teams deployed throughout the state, one for each of Missouri’s Highway Patrol regions, and each team can vaccinate up to 2,500 people per day.
"The purpose of these vaccination teams is to support our existing vaccinators and provide an additional vaccination source for eligible Missourians that may otherwise have a hard time receiving a vaccine," Parson said.
Parson also announced targeted vaccination teams in St. Louis and Kansas City that will work with clergy to focus on vaccinating those in the most vulnerable populations. These teams are expected to vaccinate up to 160 people per day.
"This effort is truly a team effort, led by the Department of Health and Senior Services and consisting of multiple physicians, hospitals, pharmacies, clinics, local governments and others,” said Maj. Gen. Levon Cumpton, Missouri National Guard adjutant general.
Parson said the Guard will begin assisting in vaccine efforts all around the state by the end of the month and will be in southeastern Missouri this weekend.
The current issue for Missouri, like much of the country, is the vaccine supply from the federal government. This week the state made individuals 65 and older, as well as those with certain underlying health conditions, eligible to receive the vaccine. This is an additional 2.5 million people, in addition to health care workers, long-term care facility staff and residents, and first responders. However, Dr. Randall Williams, Missouri's health director, said the state only received about 80,000 doses this week.
“We are doing everything we can to distribute the vaccine as quick as we get it,” Williams said. “Let me emphasize for you, the rate-limiting step in Missouri for getting a vaccine is how much vaccine we get.”
Parson said the goal with these mass vaccination sites is to ensure that vaccines are getting into the arms of Missourians as quickly and efficiently as possible.
More information on the vaccine is available at MoStopsCOVID.com.