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Capitol Briefs: Legislative Black Caucus seeks info on COVID vaccine plan for Missouri’s Black communities

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri Legislative Black Caucus (MLBC) Chair Ashley Bland Manlove requested information from the Parson administration about its plan to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to Black residents in Missouri.

Bland Manlove said government actions like the vaccine distribution have a tendency to “leave Black citizens behind.”

“Given the data, Missouri has already fallen behind on vaccine distribution to Black populations,” Bland Manlove said. “Director [Randall] Williams, Deputy Chief of Staff [Robert] Knodell, and the other members of the vaccine distribution team in the Parson administration have not inspired confidence, to say the least. We need answers now.”

  • In a recent study, the Kaiser Family Foundation found a “largely consistent pattern” of Black and Hispanic people receiving smaller shares of vaccinations compared to their shares of cases and deaths and compared to their shares of the total population in 34 states — including Missouri.
  • Bland Manlove invited DHSS Director Randall Williams and Gov. Mike Parson’s deputy chief of staff, Robert Knodell, to speak to the MLBC and answer questions on the COVID-19 vaccination strategy.

To date, Missouri has recorded 1,046,575 vaccine shots, according to the state’s COVID-19 vaccine dashboard.