Jefferson City During today's briefing at the state Capitol, Governor Mike Parson provided an update on the initial distribution of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
“We have been preparing for a COVID-19 vaccine for many months now, and everything has gone according to our state vaccine plan,” Governor Parson said. “Hospital administrators, health care workers, and Missourians from across the state have expressed how thankful they are that a vaccine is here and see these first shipments as a sign of hope for the future.”
Missouri's 21 initial vaccination sites have received almost all 51,675 doses of the first Pfizer vaccine shipment. The state expects to receive another significant shipment to additional vaccinations sites next week. Pending approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the state could also receive its first shipment of 105,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine next week.
The first shipments of the Pfizer vaccines were received Monday, and vaccinations began shortly after delivery. Nearly 1,000 frontline health care workers have already received vaccinations. This number will exponentially increase over the coming days and weeks as more vaccine shipments arrive.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are scientifically proven to be safe and effective. All traditional standards were followed, and both vaccines have shown a 95 percent efficacy rate.
“The delivery of COVID-19 vaccine to frontline caregivers is a significant milestone in the COVID-19 pandemic. The initial shipment was distributed rapidly, and health care workers began receiving vaccinations Monday,” said Missouri Hospital Association President and CEO Herb Kuhn. “As additional vaccines come on line and shipments are received, these new tools will help protect a growing number of the state’s health care professionals and the at-risk populations they serve. We are at the beginning of a massive vaccination effort. However, this week’s speed and efficiency in delivery and administration is very promising.”
Governor Parson also provided an update on the state's partnership with leading health care performance improvement company Vizient during today's briefing.
“In addition to the vaccine arrival, we are also making progress with expanding our health care system capacity. Through our partnership with Vizient, we will soon have an additional 117 hospital staff members on the ground, from ICU registered nurses to respiratory therapists,” Governor Parson said.
Six Missouri health care systems are currently participating in the 12-week partnership, including SSM Health in St. Louis and Jefferson City, St. Luke's Hospital in Chesterfield, MOSAIC Life Care, Hannibal Regional Healthcare System, BJC Healthcare, and CoxHealth. At this time, 117 health care workers have been contracted:
- 20 Intensive Care Unit Registered Nurses
- 18 Medical-Surgical Registered Nurses
- 13 Telemetry Registered Nurses
- 50 Respiratory Therapists
- 16 Certified Nurses Aids or Patient Care Technicians
Another 42 offers are pending with staffing agencies and contract employees. The first group of staff will start on Monday, December 21.
All Missourians can help combat COVID-19 and support the state's health care system by social distancing, wearing a mask, minimizing travel, avoiding large gatherings, and limiting interactions to 15 minutes. These behaviors are especially important over the holiday season.
“Although we have had some great news in Missouri this week, the fight is not over. Prevention will continue to be critically important, especially over the holidays,” Governor Parson said. “We must continue to be responsible, change our behavior, and take precautions to slow the spread. This, along with the vaccine, is how we will overcome COVID-19.”
For more information regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and answers to common questions, please visit MOStopsCOVID.com.