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Missouri Could Be 4-6 Weeks Away From COVID Vaccine Demand-Supply Shift

Governor Mike Parson (left) and Phelps Health CEO Ed Clayton (center) spoke with health care staff and patients at a COVID vaccine event in Rolla.
Phelps Health
Gov. Mike Parson (left) and Phelps Health CEO Ed Clayton (center) speak with health care staff and patients at a COVID vaccine event in Rolla on Thursday.

ROLLA — Gov. Mike Parson said Thursday the state is starting to turn the corner on COVID-19 vaccinations.

“The first vaccine shipment that came into this state was 52,000 doses,” Parson said at Rolla Church of Christ, where Phelps Health was holding its latest mass vaccination event. “By the end of April, probably our numbers will pick up to 250,000 to 300,000 a week, not counting the FEMA event in St. Louis.”

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services reports that 26% of Missourians have received at least their first dose of the vaccine, and 16% are fully vaccinated. Both of those put Missouri in the bottom 10 in the nation.

But Parson is optimistic.

“A lot of good things are happening in the state, and by the end of April I think we’re really going to see the needle change in this state as far as the volume of people that’s vaccinated,” Parson said.

Experts have long predicted there will be a tipping point when the supply will outpace demand, and that could come soon in Missouri, said Ed Clayton, CEO of Phelps Health.

“We think that is going to happen, off of just the percentages that we are seeing, probably between the first and 15th of May,” Clayton said. “We’ll see that we’re having a hard time utilizing those 1,000 doses we’re getting a week.”

Phelps Health has had an education and outreach component to its vaccination efforts since the beginning but will ramp that up in coming weeks to try to persuade people who are hesitant to get the vaccine.

Phelps Health has administered more than 20,000 CVOID-19 vaccine doses so far this year.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @JonathanAhl

Jonathan is the Rolla correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.