by: Francis Lin, Ozarks First
New data from the CDC shows Missouri is last in the country to vaccinate residents.
Governor Mike Parson and local health leaders are disputing that rating.
Less than 4% of Missouri residents have gotten the COVID-19 vaccine with the national average of 5.6%.
Steve Edwards, president and CEO of CoxHealth, stated although it is disappointing to see these numbers, this is just the start. He is hopeful that Missouri will catch up.
“It’s kind of like judging who’s winning a marathon in the first hundred steps, it’s very early,” Edwards said.
According to the CDC, more than 18 million Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
“All states had a challenge because they held back an equal amount of vaccines, to make sure they had it, I think that was the right thing to do early on,” Edwards said, “the governor’s putting together a more sophisticated plan I think, and I expect to see our state catch up.”
Gov. Parson responded to the CDC’s data by saying, “It’s totally misleading.”
“There was a federal contract with CVS and Walgreens to administer to our long care facilities,” said Gov. Parson. “That’s their contract. That’s the one that skewed the numbers differently or so much. That’s a federal contract.”
Gov. Parson says there is no stockpile of the vaccine in Missouri because every vaccine received is sent out to healthcare workers.
“We didn’t even know how many vaccines they were getting until recently,” Gov. Parson said. “So what they did is they put that federal contract in with the states, and that’s why it made the numbers look so bad because frankly, they’re behind on doing theirs.”
In Missouri, more than 240,000 people have gotten the first dose and more than 73,000 are fully vaccinated.
“I’m hopeful that to catch up as a state, they rely heavily on integrated healthcare systems,” Edwards said. “We have the experience to do it we have the patient base, we can do it with speed and safety. I’m hopeful that the state will be responsive to that because I think we can help them catch up very quickly.”
Alaska has administered the first dose to 10.7% of its population, the highest rollout in the country.
The states with the next highest rollout are West Virginia (9.7%), New Mexico (7.8%), Connecticut (7.7%), and North Dakota (7.4%).