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Days after all Missouri adults are eligible for vaccine, state expects fewer doses

Missouri officials expect to see hundreds of thousands of fewer vaccine doses than anticipated next week, just days after eligibility will open up to all adults in the state on Friday.

For the week of April 12, the state anticipates seeing roughly 157,040 doses in total — a decline of about 351,460 doses from last week’s projection for the same time period. By vaccine type, the state will see 160,760 fewer Pfizer doses, 112,800 fewer Moderna and 77,900 fewer of Johnson & Johnson, Missouri vaccine providers were told on a call Tuesday. The state anticipates relying on those reduced levels for future allocations until increases are seen.

“Of course, we would always like to have assurances that those numbers would never change or drop,” said Adam Crumbliss, the director of the Department of Health and Senior Services’ Division of Community and Public Health. “But obviously, there are several factors that impacted that.”

Crumbliss said the state did anticipate a drop and that the state received the new allocations from the federal government Tuesday. It wasn’t immediately clear what led to the steep declines across the board.

A screenshot of a slide shared with Missouri's vaccine providers Tuesday, that shows projected vaccine allocations for the month of April.
A screenshot of a slide shared with Missouri’s vaccine providers Tuesday, that shows projected vaccine allocations for the month of April.

Last week, a Baltimore plant mixed up ingredients for two COVID-19 vaccines, potentially ruining up to 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine. But Crumbliss said the decline in Missouri’s Johnson & Johnson allocation was not currently due to the manufacturing plant mix-up  — although he said it will be impacting future weeks’ allocations, which won’t be experiencing a large increase.

Last Thursday during a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Equitable COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution, Crumbliss said the CDC had not yet “clearly articulated” what impact the manufacturing issue would have, but that it would not immediately have a major disruption in the state’s vaccine supply pipeline.

Randall Williams, the director of DHSS, had echoed that sentiment at a press conference later that afternoon, saying that “we’ve been told that that should not affect our distribution.”

“So we do recognize that these are smaller allocations than what we received last week, but overall, it continues to be on the steady plane of the minimums that we’ve been projecting,” Crumbliss said Tuesday.

The activation of Phase 3 on Friday, which includes all remaining adults who have not yet been vaccinated, will make an additional 1.1 million residents eligible — bringing the total number of estimated eligible Missourians to 4.5 million.

Last month, Gov. Mike Parson cited an anticipated increase in vaccine supply as part of the reason for opening the remaining phases sooner than anticipated.

With supply projections lower than expected, it remains to be seen how that may affect predictions that supply will soon outpace demand. The state anticipates about 40 percent of eligible residents will choose not to take a vaccine.

Phase 2, which includes industries like the construction sector and higher education and vulnerable populations like disproportionately affected racial groups and people experiencing homelessness was opened on March 29.

With its activation, about 2.57 million residents were eligible but had yet to receive a first dose, according to an April 5 analysis of the state’s vaccine distribution by Deloitte Consulting. Meanwhile, nearly 34 percent of eligible residents had been vaccinated.

This story by Tessa Weinberg is published by permission of The Missouri Independent.

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