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Missouri independent pharmacies receive 16,000+ coronavirus vaccines in first week of program


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — In the first week after the state’s distribution plan was expanded to include them, Missouri’s independent pharmacies received more than 16,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine

“Last week, pharmacies received about 15 percent of the state allocation, and that totaled 16,400 doses,” Missouri Pharmacy Association’s Michaela Newell said. “Our pharmacies are ready and so excited to get started.”

Newell said they ordered an additional 36,000 doses this week, with 26,000 allocated based on region and the remainder sent to pharmacy deserts targeted by the administration. 

Newell joined The Missouri Times for a discussion about the organization’s vaccination efforts, her day-to-day life as an orchestrator of the new plan, the opening of a new tier, and more. 

“I think this is a really big step in the process. The Governor’s Office was looking for a solution where we could make vaccines more accessible to individual communities, to homebound seniors, to more vulnerable populations,” Newell said. “Putting vaccine into your local neighborhood pharmacy allows for increased access and communication with populations we weren’t previously reaching.”

Newell said the expansion would have an impact on pharmacies and communities across the state. 

“A few of our independent pharmacies have been receiving vaccine since December, but as of this week, we are going to be starting to get vaccine on a regular basis. … It’s going to be really awesome to see how different communities are impacted by those independent pharmacies having vaccines and having vaccines on a regular basis — not just 100 here and 100 there,” Newell said. 

Phase 1B Tier 3 of the state’s vaccination plan is set to open Monday, allowing 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. Approximately 550,000 more Missourians are expected to be eligible to receive the vaccine.

Nearly 1.1 million Missourians have received an initial dose of the vaccine so far, and more than 580,000 have been fully inoculated. 

President Joe Biden is expected to call on states to open up vaccines to all adults by May 1 in an address later Thursday. 

Watch the full interview with Newell below.