Missouri’s governor announced on Wednesday in Jefferson City that about 1,000 frontline health care workers have already received COVID-19 vaccines.

The COVID-19 vaccine arrived at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital in Jefferson City on December 15, 2020 (photo courtesy of Missouri Governor Mike Parson’s Flickr page)

During a Statehouse press conference, Governor Mike Parson told Capitol reporters that Missouri’s 21 initial vaccination sites have received almost all 51,675 doses of the first Pfizer vaccine shipment. He says everything has gone according to the state’s 111-page vaccine plan.

“Hospitals across the state have expressed how thankful they are that a vaccine is here and see these first shipments as hope for the future,” Parson says.

Parson says pending approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Missouri could receive its first shipment of 105,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine next week.

The governor emphasizes that both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are scientifically proven to be safe and effective, and that both vaccines have shown a 95 percent effectiveness rate.

During the press conference, Governor Parson also discussed efforts to increase the health care system’s capacity. He credits the partnership with Vizient for expanding the state’s health care system capacity.

Parson says six Missouri health care systems are now participating in the 12-week partnership: SSM Health in St. Louis and Jefferson City, St. Luke’s Hospital in Chesterfield, MOSAIC Life Care in St. Joseph, Hannibal Regional Healthcare System, St. Louis’ BJC Healthcare and CoxHealth in Springfield.

“The first group of staff is scheduled to begin on Monday and another 42 staff members will be coming soon,” says Parson.

The governor says 117 health care workers have been contracted, at this time. That includes 50 respiratory therapists, 20 intensive care unit registered nurses and 18 medical-surgical registered nurses.

Governor Parson also addressed education during the briefing, announcing an additional $10 million for the A-plus scholarship program. That includes $5 million in CARES Act funding.

“We are excited to be able to provide this additional funding and help community college continue to provide the full A-plus scholarships for all students,” Parson says.

He notes that community colleges are facing a shortfall of funding for the program, and that the COVID pandemic has caused more students to utilize the program than originally anticipated.

State Technical College of Missouri President Shawn Strong praises the news, tweeting to Missourinet on Wednesday that 800 students at his school in mid-Missouri’s Linn will appreciate this development next semester.

The A-plus program provides scholarship funds to eligible graduates of A-plus designated high schools who attend a participating public community college or vocational/technical school, or certain two-year vocational and technical schools.

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