Missouri mass vaccination events canceled due to extreme winter weather

    BRIEF

    Members of the Missouri National Guard hosting Missouri’s first mass COVID-19 vaccination site in Poplar Bluff on Jan. 22 (photo courtesy of Missouri Governor's Office).

    Mass vaccination events supported by the Missouri National Guard will be canceled through Friday due to the extreme winter weather across the state, Gov. Mike Parson announced Monday.

    Over a dozen events will be affected, which included administering both initial and booster doses to eligible residents.

    While the events are being rescheduled, residents who had registered are encouraged to reach out to other providers in their areas in the meantime.

    The mass vaccination events’ cancellations will not affect allocations by Missouri State Highway Patrol region. Doses previously scheduled to go toward the events will instead be redistributed to community hospitals with emergency generators to administer, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

    Each of the nine regions had been allocated 1,950 doses for the events for the week of Feb. 15, according to figures provided by the governor’s office.

    Booster doses will be retained to administer at a later date. Both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines require two shots, spaced out three and four weeks respectively. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that the booster dose may be given up to six weeks after the initial shot if that interval can’t be met.

    In addition, targeted vaccination teams in St. Louis and Kansas City will instead focus on locations that don’t require residents to travel, such as retirement centers, according to the news release.

    The St. Louis team was projected to receive 4,000 doses and the Kansas City team was projected to receive 1,000, according to figures from the governor’s office.

    In new guidance issued Monday, the Department of Health and Senior Services stressed that Missouri residents should be prioritized for vaccinations over out-of-state residents. However, it acknowledged some situations may be exceptions, like out-of-state employees who are receiving the vaccine through their employer in Missouri or in the event a dose must be administered to not go to waste. Vaccines administered through federal partnerships to vaccinate nursing home residents or at retail pharmacy locations are not restricted to Missouri residents, the guidance notes.

    “Missouri is experiencing severe winter weather that makes driving dangerous and threatens the health and safety of anyone exposed to the cold. These conditions will also likely delay some vaccine shipments,” Parson said in a statement.

    Missouri’s vaccine allocation for this week is expected to receive a bump after the state pulled back about 16,000 unused doses from the federal partnership with CVS and Walgreens to vaccinate long-term care facility residents and staff, according to figures provided by the governor’s office on Saturday.

    A majority of those extra doses secured by the state went toward the “high throughput” locations, with the St. Louis region now projected to receive 30,000 doses, the Kansas City region 17,000 and the Springfield region 8,000.

    Projected allocations of COVID vaccine by region for the week of Feb. 15, 2021. (Courtesy of the Missouri Governor’s Office)

    Residents were urged not to travel Monday as icy conditions persisted throughout the state. Controlled rolling blackouts occurred in the Kansas City and Springfield areas in an effort to prevent further outages and meet demand.

    The weather has also delayed lawmakers’ work, with the House cancelling hearings Monday and Tuesday and the Senate cancelling session for the entire week. The Office of Administration also announced that all state offices would be closed Tuesday.