Missouri’s first responders and remaining healthcare workers can now get the COVID-19 vaccination. The state has activated its second phase of the vaccine plan, Phase 1B – Tier 1.

In a press release today from Gov. Mike Parson’s Office, it says the federal government has also informed Missouri that the feds plan to “significantly increase” vaccine supply next week to prioritize individuals 65 and older and those with health conditions that put them at higher risk of catching COVID-19.

Calling Missouri first responders, other health care workers: next COVID-19 vaccination phase underway

In response to this news, the state will roll out the next phase of its vaccine plan, , 1B – Tier 2, on Monday. This phase will cover individuals aged 65 and older and any adult with cancer, chronic kidney disease, COPD, or intellectual and/or developmental disabilities such as Down Syndrome, heart conditions, a weakened immune system due to organ transplant, severe obesity, pregnancy, sickle cell disease, or Type 2 Diabetes.

“We recognize and appreciate that there are a variety of individuals on the frontlines who have a greater risk of exposure each day they go to work,” says Parson. “We are grateful for the tireless and selfless efforts of our health care providers and first responders who risk their own safety to protect the health and well-being of Missourians.”

Missouri’s vaccination team says there are currently not enough vaccines for everyone included in these groups, but more will become available over time.

Individuals in Phase 1A and Phase 1B – Tier 1 should work through their employer and/or association to access the vaccine. Individuals in Phase 1B – Tier 2 should contact their local pharmacy or health care provider or visit MOStopsCovid.com to learn when vaccines may be available and how to receive them.

A list of vaccinators and regional vaccine implementation teams will be made available at MOstopsCovid.com on January 15.

Missouri is not quite there yet on launching Phase 1B Tier 3, which includes the education community and childcare workers. A projected roll out date is up in the air.

“We know one of the most common questions among Missourians right now is when it will be their turn to be vaccinated, and we are greatly encouraged by the interest in the vaccines from the public,” says Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director Dr. Randall Williams. “Each day, our team is monitoring the amount of vaccine available and making sure it is distributed so that people can receive the vaccine as quickly as possible. We are so thankful to our hundreds of clinical partners throughout the state who are making that happen.”

Missourians began receiving first doses of COVID-19 vaccines last month. The state says more than 160,000 individuals have received an initial dose, and more than 22,000 have now been fully vaccinated with the 2-dose series.

Based on reporting from providers, the state says at least 27% of Phase 1A has received the first dose of the vaccine. This includes residents and staff of long-term care facilities and health care workers, including dentists, EMS, school nurses, and those working in hospital or clinic settings, among others.

The state says vaccine supply continues to be the rate-limiting factor for vaccine administration throughout the state. State vaccine allocations are determined by Operation Warp Speed – a national effort to launch and distribute the vaccine.

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention vaccine tracker shows more than 528,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine had been delivered to Missouri’s hospitals, health care providers, local health departments, or pharmacies. Parson says Missouri has given at least 190,000 doses of the immunization.

Missourians are not required to get the COVID-19 immunization. With that said, health experts say getting the two-dose vaccination is critical in reaching widespread COVID-19 immunity.

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