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Missouri reroutes vaccines after weather halts mass vaccination events

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — After a brutal winter storm slammed Missouri this week, canceling mass coronavirus vaccination events planned across the state, officials rerouted the vaccines to community hospitals with emergency generators so none would go to waste. 

Approximately 17,550 doses were rerouted to community hospitals within the designated Missouri State Highway Patrol regions this week, according to Robert Knodell, the governor’s deputy chief of staff who is spearheading the vaccine rollout. 

Ten events were slated to take place across Missouri this week, with initial doses given out in Adair, Butler, Clay, Holt, Laclede, Lewis, Morgan, Ozark, and St. Louis counties. 

Second doses were also to be administered during the mass vaccination events. These doses are also to remain in the appropriate region and will be given out as quickly as possible, according to the Governor’s Office. A short delay in the second dose should not be detrimental; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised it can be administered up to six weeks after the initial vaccine. 

The Missouri National Guard is also continuing to vaccine at-risk individuals in Kansas City and St. Louis this week at locations that do not require individuals to travel to receive the dose, such as retirement centers and senior living apartments. 

“Missouri is experiencing severe winter weather that makes driving dangerous and threatens the health and safety of anyone exposed to the cold. These conditions will also likely delay some vaccine shipments,” Gov. Mike Parson said. “We want to protect the safety of everyone involved in the mass vaccination events, from the patients being vaccinated to the volunteers who generously support these events.” 

The Governor’s Office said “every effort” would be made to reschedule the events. Missourians who have signed up to receive the vaccine from other providers are also encouraged to check for any schedule changes due to the storm. 

“We are extremely appreciative of all the hard work, sacrifices, and rapid adjustments that are being made by our state and local partners to quickly get the vaccine into arms across our state,” Parson said. 

More than 154,000 Missourians have received a dose of the vaccine in the past seven days. Overall, more than 245,000 people have received both doses of the vaccine in Missouri. More than 10 percent of Missourians have received at least one dose.