DHSS Director: First COVID-19 vaccinations in Missouri next week

51 thousand Pfizer vaccines coming to state next week.

COVID-19 vaccines could be coming to Missouri as early as next week.

On Thursday night, an FDA advisory panel gave the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine the green light, paving the way for the FDA to give the vaccine Emergency Use Authorization.

On Friday, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director Dr. Randall Williams briefed reporters on what will happen once the vaccine receives that approval.

“In one action, we will be able to vaccinate almost two-thirds, if not more, of our long term care facility population,” says Dr. Williams.

Williams explains that once the Pfizer vaccine is approved, shipments to the state will start within 24 hours.

The first shipment will be 51 thousand doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which will be sent to 20 pre-position sites — healthcare facilities with the capacity to store the vaccine, which will require sub-zero temperatures. Those will be used in the state’s largest hospitals so they can start vaccinating healthcare workers as early as December 17th.

“The large hospitals that really have gotten the brunt of the referrals. [We’re] just incredibly sensitive that we needed to help them as much as we could,” explains Williams. “Because at the end of the day no matter where you live in Missouri, they will end up helping you if it comes to that.”

Williams explains that it’s also expected that 105 thousand doses of the Moderna vaccine will be in the state the week of December 20th.

70 thousand of those doses will be administered by CVS and Walgreens within the state’s long-term care facilities. Williams expects they will be able to vaccinate a majority of the residents and staff within long-term care facilities with that shipment. It’s important to note that the Moderna vaccine does not require specialty storage, and that both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines requires two doses for full inoculation.

“While people in long-term care facilities make up four percent of the cases, they make up 43 percent of the mortality. To be able to minimize the morbidity and mortality would be tremendous for our hospitals,” says Williams.

Another piece of big news came when Dr. Williams spoke about his recent meeting at the White House. He says that General Perna with Operation Warp Speed has made a commitment to send 2 million vaccines to the state by the end of February 2021.

“In one year, I think the previous record was four years, to produce a vaccine with a new platform, make.. be in the process of making hundreds of millions of vaccines available, is just a remarkable achievement,” says Williams.

Once the state moves into the second part of distribution, when vaccines will be available for essential workers, Dr. Williams explains that distribution will become much broader. They will be available at pharmacies, hospitals, health departments, and other places. He also explains that the distribution will work on an honor system — meaning that all residents would have to do is explain that they are an essential worker to be eligible for a vaccine.

Access to the general population, Dr. Williams explains, should come in April 2021.

All of this is conditional on both of the vaccines receiving Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA. Something that Dr. Williams thinks should happen for the Pfizer vaccine by early next week at the latest.

 

Officials in Kansas and Oklahoma are also making and adjusting their vaccine distribution plans.

You can find a general breakdown of their plans here: https://www.koamnewsnow.com/mo-kan-and-okla-draft-plans-to-roll-out-covid-19-vaccine-to-residents/

Related stories:

https://www.koamnewsnow.com/i/pfizer-covid-19-vaccine-faces-last-hurdle-before-us-decision/

https://www.koamnewsnow.com/missouri-health-director-breaks-down-covid-19-vaccination-plan/

https://www.koamnewsnow.com/oklahoma-vaccine-dosages-and-plans-laid-out-by-officials/