Snubs to Public Health Left Missouri behind on Vaccine Equity

The residents of Missouri are being forced to drive out of their city for hours just to find vaccines in other countries. The wait list of the people who are looking to get their vaccine is more than hundreds and thousands of people long. Out of these lists of people waiting, the minorities such as the Black residents are getting left behind. The reason for having to drive out for hours to find the vaccine or the long wait list is because Missouri’s vaccine rollout places amongst the bottom states nationwide. As of Thursday 25, 2021, the state had 23.7% of the population vaccinated compared with a national average of 26.3%. It may look like a small percentage difference but population wise, an entire city’s population is not getting their vaccines compared to the national average. The health experts say that a part of the problem that caused this situation was the decision of bypassing the local health departments in its initial vaccine rollout plans. The state, instead of using the initial vaccine rollout plans, chose to largely outsource the work. This means that they chose to divide up the vaccines passed out into a large number of vaccines per group, reducing the overall number of  groups. This resulted in each vaccination site to deliver a high number of vaccines rather than having an abundance of the vaccination sites itself. 

Meanwhile, the local hospitals were promised to receive 8% of the vaccine supplies. The percentage later got increased to 15% but even then, the number was not enough to supply the needs. This was because the demand for vaccines in the local hospitals are much larger than anywhere else. The residents are more easily accessible to the local hospitals near by than a whole new vaccination site they are not familiar with which is why they will want to go to a place they know much better. Spring Schmidt, the former co-activity director expressed that the local health departments knew what to do in order to fix this situation but were not able to carry it out into action. The reason is because they are underfunded and the state and federal government are not providing the essential funding to make changes. Due to this incomprehensible decision from the government, the residents of Missouri are suffering to receive their vaccine supplies.

Categories: Clinical