Missouri’s vaccine rollout is statically the worst in the nation; let us agree that sucks
It is undeniable that plenty of states have struggled with COVID-19 vaccine distribution. California, Georgia, and Virginia, to name a few, are states that have struggled to vaccinate their populations with even the first round of the two-part vaccine.
But Missouri, we’re at a whole other level—the lowest level, actually.
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control Prevention and an interactive map by The New York Times, only 382,552 doses of the vaccine have been administered, leaving only 4.8% of our population vaccinated against the Coronavirus.
We are in a tie with Idaho, who also only has 4.8% of their population vaccinated, for last place in the nation’s COVID-19 vaccine race.
But all data aside, we are not doing the greatest when it comes to the actual administration portion either.
On Tuesday, some of the most vulnerable members of the community, the elderly, waited outside in freezing temperatures to receive their vaccines.
At Okun Fieldhouse in Shawnee, people who had signed up to be vaccinated spent at least 20 minutes outdoors in an icy parking lot.
While some of the wait time was due to people arriving early for their appointments or showing up without an appointment, the Johnson County Health Department vows to do better.
“I, first, want to start by apologizing for the logistics—how it was implemented was not what our county expects or deserves, and it will be different tomorrow [Wednesday] and going forward,” says County Manager, Penny Postoak Ferguson in a virtual press conference on Facebook Tuesday night. “We need to make improvements, and for that, I apologize.”
Changes for the next round of vaccinations at Okun Fieldhouse have been implemented, and people are now allowed to wait in their cars and are advised to arrive only 15-20 minutes early to avoid the backup. Additionally, more staff will be stationed outside and inside the facility to ease the flow of traffic.
In more disheartening Kansas City vaccine-related news, an Independence CVS (1315 W. 23rd St.) employee accidentally thawed too many COVID-19 vaccines and gave them to relatives.
Last Friday, Independence CVS location held a state-approved vaccine clinic for employees eligible to receive the Coronavirus vaccine.
In a statement made to The Kansas City Star, Mike DeAngelis, a senior director of corporate communications for CVS Health, claimed that: “On that same day, unused vaccine from a long-term care vaccination visit that could not be refrozen was returned to this pharmacy. Rather than discard any vaccine that was still viable, the pharmacy team used it to vaccinate employees’ family members whose age and/or health condition met the state’s Phase 1B eligibility requirements.”
While DeAngelis declined to reveal how many additional vials were accidentally thawed or how many family members were vaccinated, he stated that they are following up with CVS locations to insure the vaccine doses be handled properly.
And because the vaccine cannot be refrozen and goes bad after 12 hours unrefrigerated, The Missouri Health Department and Senior Services said that the CVS did what they should have to keep the vials from going to waste.
“Ultimately, our main concern is not allowing for wastage,” MO. Health Department spokeswoman Lisa Cox says. “So if they run into that predicament where they the just need to make sure it’s not wasted and it can be used to vaccinate people, that’s what they need to do—whatever means necessary. I’m encouraged that they found a way to get it into arms.”
Given these examples of Coronavirus horror stories from the past couple of weeks, it makes sense that Missouri is ranking last. Hopefully, within the next few weeks, we will get our act together and take serious steps forward towards vaccinating our communities.