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Capitol Briefs: Vaccination team provides update

  

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Leaders of Missouri’s COVID-19 vaccination team met with lawmakers this week to provide an update on the state’s progress. 

Robert Knodell, deputy chief of staff for Gov. Mike Parson, joined Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Director Dr. Randall Williams before the House Health and Mental Health Policy Committee Monday. Knodell said the state was making considerable progress toward its vaccination goals. 

“We have collectively seen progress since we began the vaccination program in the middle of December,” Knodell said. “Despite the fact that the state of Missouri has received less vaccine per capita than most of our surrounding states, we are aggressively utilizing the vaccine that we have.”

  • Knodell said 2.3 million shots had been administered across the state as of Monday, and around 250,000 doses were being administered per week. 
  • Williams and Knodell fielded questions from legislators, including Rep. Kimberly-Ann Collins, who said more needed to be done to distribute the vaccine to communities of color, including St. Louis
  • Reps. Brian Seitz and Lisa Thomas cited concerns over possible vaccine mandates; Williams responded that “patients have the right to make their own decisions.”

Missouri entered Phase 2 of its plan Monday, opening the vaccine to the education, energy, food, and agriculture industries, among other critical workers. 

As of Tuesday, more than 1.5 million Missourians have been fully inoculated, and 2.3 million have received at least one dose.