Missouri police, more health staff now eligible for vaccine
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Missouri on Thursday opened up coronavirus vaccines to police, firefighters and health care administrators as the state prepares for an influx of vaccines next week.
The latest eligible group includes public safety workers and remaining health care workers who don’t interact with patients and weren’t previously able to get the vaccine.
Missouri currently does not have enough of a supply to vaccinate everyone in the newly eligible group. Officials in Gov. Mike Parson’s administration said the goal is to make sure people are ready to be vaccinated as soon as more vaccines are available.
Parson’s administration said additional vaccinations will be possible because the federal government plans to increase supplies to Missouri next week.
“We are looking forward to increased vaccine supply in the coming weeks as supply is the leading factor that dictates our movement through our plan,” Parson said in a statement. “The more supply we receive, the quicker we can reach our goal of making vaccines available to every Missourians who wants one.”
The state on Monday will again expand who is eligible for vaccinations, opening up vaccines to people age 65 and older and those with illnesses that put them at higher risk of getting seriously sick from COVID-19. Those conditions include cancer, intellectual or developmental disabilities, pregnancy, kidney disease, diabetes and heart conditions.
Anyone previously eligible for a vaccine still will be able to get one as supplies allow.
Parson’s administration is urging people to wear face masks, practice social distancing and regularly sanitize their hands so that vaccinations can have the greatest impact in reducing the spread of the coronavirus, which continues to rage across the state.
There have been close to 17,000 newly reported positive cases in Missouri over the past week, according to the state health department. That’s about 2,426 newly reported cases per day on average.
At least 6,201 deaths have been attributed to the virus in Missouri.
At least two state lawmakers have tested positive for the virus since the annual legislative session began last week, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. At least one other lawmaker is in quarantine.