Missouri activates National Guard to help with mass COVID vaccinations

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JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri National Guard will be deployed to nine sites across the state to help administer COVID-19 vaccines.

There will be one National Guard team set up in each of the nine Missouri Highway Patrol Troop districts.

Gov. Mike Parson said during Wednesday afternoon’s briefing that the teams are expected to be set up by the end of the month. One team will set up this weekend in Southeast Missouri to conduct a test run.

Over years, we’ve seen Missouri National Guard troops move into and offer assistance in a number of communities for a variety of reasons. Now their objective is the fight against COVID-19. 

The mass vaccination sites will be able to vaccinate 2,500 a day when they are fully up and running.

There will be 30-member vaccination teams made up of troops. Plus, there will be special 4-member teams who will go to St. Louis and Kansas City, “…to work with the clergies to assist in the most vulnerable populations,” Parson said. 

Gov. Parson also said supply remains limited but by the end of this week the state expects 76,000 vaccines and another 76,000 by the end of next week.

The guard will administer vaccinations and process the paperwork.

“The vaccination is the easy part. The more challenging part is getting people registered, collecting information, getting it entered into the database,” said Dr. Alex Garza, head of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force.

Missouri has administered 265,000 COVID doses so far. Right now help is welcomed. But what every community really needs are more vaccines. 

“We have only received something like four or five thousand doses of the vaccine,” said Christopher Ave, a spokesman for the St. Louis County Health Department. “We have more than 200,000 people so far who have signed up to receive the vaccine.” 

Gov. Parson also said the positivity rate in Missouri has dropped 5 full percentage points in the last week and is now sitting at 12.4%. It was at a high of 20.4% in November.

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