Our Call: South County, once again, last in line in state, county

Editorial

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Everyone in South County has been patiently waiting … waiting for vaccines from the governor, and now waiting for more access to vaccines from St. Louis County.

St. Louis County has supplied vaccine sites since Feb. 4 at both the Mehlville and Affton fire districts, along with Eureka, Pattonville and others. These are welcome, especially since the state has given far fewer vaccines to the St. Louis area than our demand merits.

But as the vaccine supply grows, the county is holding more and more events in North County and has now started restricting certain events to residents of 17 North County ZIP codes.

That in itself is not necessarily problematic, as good arguments can be made that the vaccine should go where it’s needed the most. And it doesn’t seem like the state is going to do much for North County.

We in South County can wait patiently. It’s what we do best.

But the county’s next choice for a vaccine site was Queeny Park in West County.

The state has let us down, and now the county has too. The same arguments anyone could make for more North County sites argue against placing a West County site over a South County site: South County has one of the ZIP codes, 63125, that the county itself classifies as most vulnerable, not any part of West County.

South County being last in line for a mass site is unjustifiable to us given how hard-hit South County was by the virus and the lack of access we’re seeing even among pharmacies here.

Our largest school district, Mehlville, had to use a pharmacy in the city to get vaccines for its teachers. Mercy South has been used as justification, but those shots are not reserved for South County and go to residents from the entire region.

And by that logic, West County has several large hospitals. So why aren’t they behind us?

With the possible exception of the Interstate 44 corridor, West County is closer to the numerous outstate sites, closer to the large mega site the state is opening at the St. Charles Family Arena and closer to the North County sites.

So why is South County last in line, again?