A freshman Missouri lawmaker is calling on the Parson administration to prioritize teachers for COVID vaccinations. State Rep. Michael Burton, D-Lakeshire, wants to see teachers moved from tier three to tier two.

State Rep. Michael Burton, D-Lakeshire, speaks on the Missouri House floor in Jefferson City on February 23, 2021, as State Rep. Neil Smith (D-St. Louis County) listens (photo: Tim Bommel at House Communications)

“Right now, there’s a potential that they could not get the first vaccination shot for possibly months. Could be possibly two to three months, there’s no guarantee,” Burton says.

State Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) director Dr. Randall Williams told Capitol reporters last week that the Parson administration’s main focus continues to be the most vulnerable and elderly residents.

“Our north star is our most vulnerable, and I think I’ve told you (Capitol reporters) the second thing I look at every morning after I look at the case rate is the percentage of our senior citizens who’ve been vaccinated,” says Dr. Williams.

That percentage is now 38 percent for those 85 and older, and 26 percent for those ages 75-84.

As for Representative Burton, he’s also asking the Parson administration to consider a statewide mass vaccination event for teachers.

“It will make the parents of those students safer, it will make the grandparents of those students safer. And I think that we need to prioritize the teachers,” Burton says.

An online petition is circulating in support of Burton’s call.

“We do have a petition going around right now, it has over 2,000 signatures. It’s been signed from people all across the state,” says Burton.

Burton tells Missourinet he’s had good conversations with Dr. Williams, adding that they both understand where the other is coming from and will keep the conversation going.

Missouri vaccinators have now administered more than one-million total doses of the COVID vaccine. About 709,000 Missourians have now received at least one dose of the vaccine, which is about 11.5 percent of the population.

The Missouri National Guard, DHSS and local health partners are planning multiple mass vaccination events on Wednesday. Events will be taking place in northern Missouri’s Moberly, northwest Missouri’s Princeton, southwest Missouri’s Anderson, west-central Missouri’s Warsaw and in southeast Missouri’s Bollinger County.

Click here to listen to Brian Hauswirth’s full five-minute interview with State Rep. Michael Burton, D-Lakeshire, which was recorded on February 22, 2021:

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