Parson says federal door-to-door vaccination effort not welcome in Missouri

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Missouri Governor Mike Parson

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – As Missouri struggles with a resurgent COVID crisis in Springfield and a slow vaccination rate across the state, Governor Mike Parson is balking at the idea of federal agents going door-to-door to help increase vaccinations, less than a week after requesting help from the White House.

On Tuesday, President Joe Biden suggested a federal push to get young people and others hesitant to get vaccinated.

“Now we need to go to community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood, and oft-times door to door – literally knocking on doors – to get help to the remaining people protected from the virus,” Biden said.

As of Wednesday, July 7, the CDC reports 55.1% of the total U.S. population is at least partially vaccinated and 47.6% is fully vaccinated. Approximately 45% of Missourians have received at least one shot of the COVID vaccine and 39% are fully vaccinated.

The president’s suggestion did not sit well with some state officials across the country, the Missouri governor among them.

On Wednesday, Gov. Parson tweeted that he’s directed his health department to inform the feds that such a door-to-door campaign would not be welcome in Missouri. The governor said both he and his wife, Teresa, have been vaccinated and he reiterated that Missourians should take the vaccine.

However, on July 2, Gov. Parson requested “surge response teams” to come to Missouri to address the rise in COVID cases. On Thursday, the Joplin Globe reported a member of the response team arrived in Springfield to provide “epidemiological support” to that area’s struggling hospitals.

Meanwhile, the state has not had a full-time health director since April, following the resignation of Dr. Randall Williams. A spokesperson for the governor said the state is close to hiring a new health director. Robert Knodell has been serving as Acting Health Director in the interim.

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