St. Louis County May Have to Pause Vaccination Appointments Later This Week Due to Lack of Vaccine Supply from the State

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, MO (February 8, 2021) St. Louis County, well-equipped to provide vaccines to at least 5,000 people per week, is instead facing a possible pause in its efforts due to a lack of vaccine supply from the state.

The state had previously announced it would provide weekly supplies of the vaccine, but St. Louis County is now entering its third week without a new supply from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.

The county did reach agreement today with local hospital groups to receive 1,950 doses later this week.

The St. Louis County Department of Public Health is scheduled to run out of vaccine doses tomorrow. Unless more vaccine is made available from DHSS, the broad community access to the vaccine that DPH provides may have to be paused.

“St. Louis County continues to be uncertain when and whether it will receive vaccine doses,” said County Executive Dr. Sam Page. “This makes it incredibly difficult to plan a distribution network and effectively communicate with those who have signed up and are anxiously awaiting an appointment.”

“More importantly,” added Dr. Page, “it puts at further risk the population DPH serves, including people who are uninsured or underinsured, people who do not have a primary care physician, and others who are uniquely at-risk and vulnerable to COVID-19. Many of the people who need the vaccine the most simply will not have access to the vaccine.”

Last week, DPH expanded its vaccination operation, opening four additional sites for a total of five. The County now offers vaccinations at John C. Murphy Heath Center in Berkeley; the Florissant Valley campus of St. Louis Community College in Ferguson; and the fire districts in Affton, Eureka and Mehlville.

As a result, last week alone, DPH was able to vaccinate about 5,100 people. That is significantlyhigher than the 2,500 vaccinated during the previous week.

Unfortunately, we have not received any vaccine from the state the past two weeks and the county found out this morning it will not receive any vaccine from the state this week.

Here is a timeline of events over the past few weeks:

  • During the week of January 25, DHSS declined to send any vaccine to St. Louis County for the week.
  • On January 31, one of the local hospital systems offered to give St. Louis County 3,900 doses to ensure public access could continue, on the assurance that DHSS would later resupply BJC.
  • During the week of February 1, DHSS declined to send any vaccine to St. Louis County for the week. On February 1, the state and the Missouri Hospital Association also issued a press release stating that St. Louis County DPH would receive at least 5,000 doses for the weeks of Feb. 1, Feb. 8, Feb. 15 and Feb. 22.
  • On February 3, the state announced to KSDK that St. Louis County “will be receiving 9,500 doses weekly.” The same day, Dr. Williams gave a PowerPoint presentation about the vaccine rollout that said St. Louis County would receive allocations on February 8.
  • On February 4, Dr. Williams told KSDK that St. Louis County will be “getting 9,000 doses next week.” That afternoon, DHSS sent a shipping confirmation to St. Louis County stating that DHSS had shipped 3,900 doses of vaccine.
  • On the morning of February 5, DHSS told St. Louis County it would receive the promised 9,000 doses through the allocation made to the private health systems. Later that day, DHSS informed St. Louis County that it would not receive the 3,900 doses it had previously told the County it had shipped.
  • This morning, despite the presentation from February 3, DHSS declined to send any vaccine to St. Louis County for the week of February 8.