Missouri partners with FEMA on St. Louis mass vaccine site that will double state’s doses

Members+of+the+Missouri+National+Guard+prepare+doses+of+COVID-19+vaccine+Feb.+23+in+Canton%2C+near+the+Iowa+border.

Photo by Deborah Baker

Members of the Missouri National Guard prepare doses of COVID-19 vaccine Feb. 23 in Canton, near the Iowa border.

The state of Missouri announced Monday that it will start an eight-week effort next week focusing on getting more COVID-19 vaccine into arms in St. Louis, with help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Up to 3,000 people a day will be vaccinated, and the state’s usual supply will nearly be doubled with more doses from the federal government.

Gov. Mike Parson and FEMA said the new program will “equitably” provide up to an additional 168,000 vaccinations in the city of St. Louis in an eight-week period. The program will launch Wednesday, April 7 and vaccinate up to 3,000 people a day, seven days a week.

“Through our state-supported vaccination events, we have shown that we can efficiently get vaccines into arms on a very large scale,” Parson said in a news release. “Since late January, we have been communicating with our federal partners to establish a FEMA mass vaccination site in Missouri. Now, with vaccine supplies increasing and the support of the White House and FEMA, we have the opportunity to deliver even more vaccines to the St. Louis area.”

“This special vaccination site enables us to help St. Louis be better protected from COVID-19 by increasing access to life-saving vaccines, particularly for those in the city who are medically at high risk or underserved because they don’t have ready access to health care,” said Kathy Fields, acting regional administrator for FEMA Region 7. “This effort will go a long way to ensure equitable access to vaccinations.” 

The eight-week program is designed to reach those most vulnerable to COVID-19 and who face economic, transportation or other barriers in accessing the health care system.

The program will use the concourse level of The Dome at America’s Center in downtown St. Louis, the football stadium formerly used by the St. Louis Rams. The America’s Center site was selected by a joint team with representatives from the state of Missouri, city of St. Louis and FEMA because of its proximity to a large number of Missourians at high risk for the disease and limited access to health care. The Dome site is centrally located, handicapped accessible and accessible by public transportation. Arrangements are being made to provide free parking nearby.

The doses administered at this site will be in addition to Missouri’s current statewide vaccine allotment of approximately 200,000 initial doses distributed weekly to nearly 1,050 state-approved vaccine providers. The type of vaccines administered may vary from week to week depending on vaccine availability. 

The Missouri National Guard, Department of Health and Senior Services and State Emergency Management Agency will partner with FEMA, the U.S. Department of Defense and the city of St. Louis to host this eight-week FEMA mass vaccination clinic. 

The mass vaccination site will operate from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. Eligible residents will be identified through the state’s Vaccine Navigator. Eligible Missourians can register online or by calling the state’s COVID-19 hotline at 877-435-8411. 

“I’m immensely grateful to the Biden-Harris Administration and all our federal and state partners for working together to bring this federally supported community vaccination clinic to the City of St. Louis,” St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson said in a news release. “We are still seeing a high demand for getting shots into arms and this clinic will greatly expand our capacity to successfully vaccinate some of our most vulnerable and high-risk residents.”