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Missouri activating next tier of coronavirus vaccine distribution mid-March

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri will activate the next tier of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout on March 15, Gov. Mike Parson announced Thursday.

Those eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine under Phase 1B Tier 3 will include K-12 educators and school employees, child care providers, and grocery store employees as well as energy, food, agriculture, and other critical infrastructure workers, among others. The governor said this will make approximately 550,000 more Missourians eligible to receive the vaccine.

“For now, we ask that vaccinators work in their communities to plan for March 15. We want this to be a smooth process, and it will be up to vaccinators to start planning now so that Tier 3 populations are ready,” Parson said during a press conference.

As of Wednesday, about 12 percent of Missouri’s population has received at least one dose of the vaccine and more than 370,000 Missourians have been fully vaccinated with both doses.

“We have made incredible progress in a short amount of time,” Parson said. “I cannot thank Missourians enough for their efforts.”

Vaccine distribution in the state is reliant on supply provided by the federal government and which of the different vaccines gain approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A new vaccine from Johnson & Johnson is expected to be approved by the FDA as early as Friday. 

“Initially, much like Pfizer … we estimate we might get around 50,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson,” Parson said. “However, they have also told us that that may decrease after that initial order.”

Inoculation for Missourians is also a personal choice, Parson said, noting a recent study by the Missouri Hospital Association found approximately 40 percent of Missourians are not likely to seek a vaccine. 

“While we strongly encourage Missourians to consider getting a vaccine, we know it’s a personal choice and not everyone who is eligible will want one,” Parson said.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Missouri now ranks second lowest in the nation for average daily COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents over the past seven days.

more than 233,600 vaccine doses have been shipped to CVS and Walgreens through the Federal Pharmacy Partnership, and 38,990 doses have been shipped to Walmart, Healthmart, and Hy-Vee locations through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. 

There have been 68 mass vaccination clinics completed across the state, and more than 66,500 Missourians have received an initial vaccine dose at one of these events. 

As of February 24, approximately 12 percent of Missouri’s population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. Over 350,000 Missourians have been fully vaccinated with both doses.