UPDATED: Missouri cancels most mass vaccination sites this week, but St. Louis one still on

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Photo by Erin Achenbach

Eligible St. Louis County employees receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at St. Louis County’s mass vaccination site at the Florissant Valley campus of St. Louis Community College Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. The mass vaccination site in Ferguson has been operating since Jan. 29, vaccinating qualified county employees ahead of the public starting Wednesday, Feb. 3.

Editor’s note: This article was updated at 6 p.m. Tuesday to reflect the latest information from the state and St. Louis County that the mass vaccination site is still on. 

Gov. Mike Parson announced Monday night that all of Missouri’s COVID-19 mass vaccination events previously announced for this week, Feb. 15-19, 2021, are canceled due to extreme winter weather. But the one scheduled for Saturday at the University of Missouri-St. Louis in St. Louis County is still slated to be held

“Missouri is experiencing severe winter weather that makes driving dangerous and threatens the health and safety of anyone exposed to the cold. These conditions will also likely delay some vaccine shipments,”  Parson said in the announcement. “We want to protect the safety of everyone involved in the mass vaccination events, from the patients being vaccinated to the volunteers who generously support these events.”

The state said it is making every effort to reschedule these events, but individuals who were registered are encouraged to reach out to other vaccinators in their region in the interim. Missourians scheduled to receive a vaccine this week through other providers should check with their vaccinator for any potential schedule changes.

Cancellation of this week’s mass vaccination events will not change weekly regional vaccine allocations, the state said. After three weeks of the events being held in rural areas at least an hour or more away from the state’s most populated cities St. Louis and Kansas City, this week’s events included two events in each of those regions. 

To ensure that no vaccine doses are endangered, arriving vaccine shipments for this week’s events will remain in each of the nine Missouri State Highway Patrol regions across the state and will be redistributed to community hospitals with emergency generators. Community hospitals may administer the vaccine in compliance with Missouri’s current activated tiers to eligible local health care workers, first responders and high-risk residents over the age of 65. 

This week, the mass vaccination program was also scheduled to administer second doses of the Pfizer vaccine. These events are being postponed, but doses will be retained in the region. Plans are being made to administer these doses as promptly as possible.

The slight delay will not affect the efficacy of the booster dose, the state said. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the second dose may be administered as late as six weeks after the first dose.

The Missouri National Guard’s targeted vaccination teams working to vaccinate vulnerable at-risk citizens in St. Louis and Kansas City will focus this week on locations that do not require citizens to travel to be vaccinated, including senior apartments, retirement centers, and similar locations.

“We are extremely appreciative of all the hard work, sacrifices, and rapid adjustments that are being made by our state and local partners to quickly get the vaccine into arms across our state,” Parson said.

For additional information, updates on mass vaccination events, and other vaccinators in the St. Louis region, visit MOStopsCOVID.com.