Governor Mike Parson said he would make an announcement on Thursday on “Advances in the Immunization Phase” and spearhead an expected surge in state vaccine supply following the expected approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The governor’s comments came a day after state health officials urged vaccine providers to prepare for suitability for a COVID-19 vaccine, which is set to expand over the next week.
Expanded eligibility would mean teachers “will soon be able to get a vaccination,” Parson told Fox4 Kansas City and The Kansas City Star on Wednesday during an episode of “4Star Politics”.
“There will be really good things ahead of us. The fact is, things are going so well that I would assume tomorrow is going to be a pretty big day for a pretty good announcement. I think you will see how we move forward with the vaccination phases, “said Parson, and later added,” I think everyone will be very happy with the direction we are going and how we will be able to get there move teachers on. “
Calls from lawmakers and teachers have grown to include educators now. While other states, like Kansas, have designated additional doses specifically for teachers, officials from Missouri have emphasized that they are prioritizing groups at greatest risk of developing serious illness if they contract the virus.
Among the government levels, the K-12 education sector, which includes everyone from teachers to bus drivers, is the next to be eligible under Tier 3 of Phase 1B.
Adam Crumbliss, the DHSS director of community and public health, told vaccines Tuesday that he did not expect an “immediate change” but encouraged vaccine providers to plan how they would reach key workers under Animal 3 of Phase 1B .
In addition to teachers, this level also includes employees who are essential for a critical infrastructure, such as employees of food production plants and employees of the transport sector.
Currently, the state is working to vaccinate groups such as healthcare workers, residents and nursing home workers, those 65 years of age and older, and those with certain underlying medical conditions with the allocation of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
The state could soon have a third vaccine to expand its offerings. Johnson & Johnson’s single dose vaccine that can be stored at normal refrigeration temperatures can already be approved for use this weekend.
But his arrival also raises new questions for the state, such as: B. what groups it will address and overcoming hesitation about its effectiveness.
Randall Williams, director of the Department of Health and Elderly Services, said earlier this month that if the emergency Johnson & Johnson vaccine is approved this weekend, the state is expecting a “significant amount” of vaccine as early as the first week in March .
However, it remains to be seen whether this will be sufficient to fully develop Tier 3. State health officials have said there is no precise metric or threshold for opening the next tier. And right now, there are still not enough vaccines to give to anyone who is already eligible.
It is estimated that more than 3 million residents fall under the state’s currently enabled levels, including people 65 and older and people with certain underlying medical conditions. As of Wednesday, 726,367 people have now received at least their first dose. according to the state dashboard.
“The faster we can vaccinate this in our activated phases, the sooner we can activate the next level,” said Parson during a press conference last week.
During a meeting of the Missouri Advisory Committee on Equitable Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines last week, members debated whether the state should open the stage pending increased supply.
Clay Goddard, the director of the Springfield-Greene County Department of Health, suggested not opening the stage fully, but prioritizing educators first.
“I would also hope that we could think about not getting into Tier 3 fully if we are that far behind,” said Rex Archer, Kansas City Health Department director of health and committee member. “If we want to keep Kindergarten going through the 12th with this contagious new variant, I think we have to get the adults who support K-12 education to level 2.”
In a meeting earlier this month, Archer also said he hopes the state moves into the next levels as a whole – noting that densely populated areas like Kansas City have more residents and it may take longer to get everyone into the current one Phases authorized persons have worked through.
Goddard said this was an issue that emerged during the H1N1 pandemic, when smaller cities and counties transitioned to lower priority levels while larger ones struggled to vaccinate the earlier levels at the same rate.
“We just have to make sure that we reroute the vaccine and get the groups at greatest risk for visual acuity first,” Goddard said. “I really think that’s very important if we’re going to do this right.”
Members of the advisory committee have also suggested giving priority to people with homelessness for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as it only takes a single shot and doesn’t require returning to a clinic for a booster dose.
An analysis by the Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday found that Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine offered strong protection against hospitalization and death. It had an effectiveness rate of 86 percent against severe forms of COVID in the United States and an overall effectiveness rate of 72 percent in the United States said his vaccine is 95 percent effectiveand Moderna said his vaccine was 94.5 percent effective.
The discrepancy can be something that the state has to overcome when it comes to residents’ perception of what vaccine they are being offered. During the advisory council meeting last week, Crumbliss stressed that the state is concerned about looking into it and making sure residents understand what the research has shown.
“Just looking at some of the initial initial efficacy data would suggest that they are not as effective as the other Moderna and Pfizer vaccines,” Crumbliss said, “but if you dig deeper into research and investigation . ” Because of its effects and effectiveness over time, it shows that it is just as effective as the other two vaccines currently in use. “
Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, said late last month While there may be a messaging issue, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is ultimately good news.
“From a practical standpoint – of what you want to do to keep people out of the hospital and prevent death – this is an added value,” Fauci said.
This article is from the Missouri Independent.