State newspapers like the Saint Louis Post Dispatch report that there are 44/50 states in Missouri that are introducing vaccines. The governor’s office has assured me that the number given is inaccurate. It may be. Unfortunately in my district it seems certain that we are 50/50. The good news is that they completed Stage 1 of the vaccination process at Phelps County Regional Hospital. In phase 1, nurses, doctors and other critical personnel are protected by vaccination.
We’re about 50% done with the first round of first-aid vaccinations. The hospital was also able to provide doses to many people who had pre-registered and met other qualifications (people over 65 who had other risk factors). Unfortunately, it is still unclear how the process will work for our nursing homes and the public. I have made frequent contacts with the governor’s office on this matter, and I understand the many challenges involved in getting a bureaucracy to react quickly to exceptional circumstances. The governor has promised to use the National Guard to support the vaccination process. I welcome this decision. However, mobilizing the guard requires time and resources. Especially when we have so many of them we are still trying to get back from Washington DC where they were literally only used for window dressing.
I have the greatest respect and trust in the men and women who serve in our National and Missouri Guards. Their skills and professionalism are the best in the world and they have prevailed for us repeatedly in every crisis Missouri has faced. I have no doubt that they will perform excellently in this disaster as well. However, I am disappointed that the state did not first consider the Missourians in our area who already have the infrastructure, training, and experience to aid in this process. They have been preparing at the governor’s request, at least since it became known that the vaccine was ready for distribution. I can’t speak for the rest of the state, but District 121 has local pharmacies and national pharmacy chains as well as the regional hospital skills all of which assured me that they are ready, willing, and able to dispense as many doses as possible can be sent her way. No mobilization required.
I have heard from people at the local pharmacies and hospital that they are ready to drive their own well-equipped vehicle to Jefferson City or elsewhere to collect the vaccines, transport them to Rolla, and distribute them from there. There are pharmacies and clinics that are well distributed throughout the region, and because of this widespread distribution, avoid the long lines and other problems we see with the introduction in other states. You have already pre-registered and classified people for the time of vaccination.
The centralized vaccination centers in the parking lot are not required in our area, although they may be necessary in some areas due to long lines and people being turned away due to bottlenecks. We may get to this point, but I think we’re “money ahead” if we use the infrastructure we already have and then prepare the guard to do what it does best: respond to the critical areas in who lack the right infrastructure. The main problem with the Pfizer vaccine is its special transportation requirements and the short window of time it can be administered after being removed from storage. It typically has a high percentage of waste. I would also like to point out that Phelps County Regional Hospital was able to deliver over 2000 doses with no waste. This is impressive! I think this proves that in our region we are able to manage a vaccination program effectively. Americans, and Missourians in particular, have demonstrated time and again our ability to “cope.” Please, Governor Parson, get us the vaccines and we will make it!
This week the house voted for a foster parent income tax deduction ($ 2,500 for individuals and $ 5,000). Foster parents are living saints and should be commended for opening and opening their homes to children, who often arrive with next to nothing of their own. Foster parents not only provide these children with safe and loving homes, but also provide food, clothing, and other necessities. While it is true that they would do so without the tax break, it is a long overdue thank you to those who make significant sacrifices to provide a home for the children who have nowhere else to go
If I can help you, please contact my office.
– Don Mayhew Rep., District 121