ST. LOUIS – Gov. Mike Parson was in the area today taking stock of the vaccination efforts ongoing in the city and county.
Parson’s tour today included stops at Pfizer in Chesterfield, Cambridge Senior Living in the city’s center, and BJC Christian Northeast where he met with hospital leadership about ongoing vaccination efforts there.
Parson answered questions by the media after a brief tour of the Christian Northeast Hospital (11133 Dunn Road), which has been hosting a vaccination events every Monday through Saturday since February. Anyone with an appointment in the appropriate Tier group can get the vaccine there.
The governor has rolled out a plan to distribute the vaccine according to the population in an effort to evenly distribute the supply to all areas in the state. An incident at a mass vaccination event in Putnam County, a mostly rural county, did not quite go as planned, causing outrage in some urban areas of Missouri.
The Putnam County mass vaccination effort resulted in more than 1,500 doses going unused at a time when shortages are being reported all over the state, Parson acknowledged that errors had been made and took responsibility for what happened.
“That site should never have happened the way it did,” Parson said. “That’s the bottom line, I own that, it should have never happened.”
“We have to do a better job than that,” he added.
The reason for the event’s failure to administer the allotted number of vaccines was unclear. Many people in rural areas may be getting their vaccines elsewhere, or they may be choosing not to get the vaccine altogether.
Parson did not want to estimate when Missouri would receive a sufficient supply of vaccines to inoculate the entire state, estimating that it was still too soon to make that prediction. President Joe Biden, on the other hand, has assured the American people that there will be sufficient vaccines available to inoculate the entire country by May.
“I would say that by the end of April we’ll be a lot more equipped to answer that question,” Parson told MetroSTL.com.
The governor added that by that time the efforts to vaccinate might be more proactive than reactive and that the state would be have a better handle on obtaining supply and getting people vaccinated.
Parson said Missouri had the second-lowest positivity rate in the country, asserting that the state was doing well in managing the pandemic and keeping people out of the hospitals. In recent weeks, COVID positivity numbers have shown a downward trend and are currently at a plateau that is still higher than most medical experts would like.