JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri providers should ensure out-of-state residents do not receive the state’s vaccine doses, Gov. Mike Parson urged Monday.
A news release from Parson’s office says that with few exceptions, Missouri residents should be the priority.
The release acknowledges that Missourians and residents of neighboring states often cross borders, especially in the state’s major urban areas.
But because the federal government allocates vaccines based on each state’s population, Missouri’s doses should go to the state’s residents, the release says.
“Vaccine supply is slightly increasing, but it is still not yet close to meeting the current demand that exists in our state,” Parson said in the release.
The state’s vaccination data shows 94,715 people who either live outside the state or did not provide an address have been able to get at least one dose in Missouri, which is 15% of the total number who have begun the vaccination process.
Missouri’s online COVID-19 dashboard on Monday showed 634,393 people statewide have received at least one dose. The dashboard also breaks down the statewide number by county. The website notes that the county total is less than the statewide total because those who list their address in another state are not included in the county data.
Also possibly not included in the county-level data are those who didn’t list an address, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services spokeswoman Lisa Cox stated in an email.
The total number of county residents receiving at least their first dose is 539,678, for a difference of 94,715.
The release from Parson says that other states are prioritizing their residents, as well.
The Post-Dispatch and stltoday.com reported Saturday that St. Clair County in Illinois had turned away hundreds of people who were not eligible to receive the vaccine at an event Friday. The event was intended for those who live and work in the county, but 80% of people who made appointments came from out of state, officials said.
New guidelines from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, included with Parson’s news release, say the state will not penalize vaccinators who make a good-faith effort to follow the regulations.
Entities that distribute vaccines should use the state’s form, or a similar one, to screen for residency, and should not target advertising or conduct clinics out-of-state, the document says.
Employer-based vaccination clinics may vaccinate out-of-state employees, and it is better to vaccinate someone who would not typically be eligible if the alternative is wasting a dose, the guidelines say.
Vaccinators who disregard the state’s plan, waste doses or fail to vaccinate quickly enough may face penalties. The state could reduce, cancel or reallocate their vaccine shipments.
The guidelines say the residency requirements do not apply to the federal pharmacy programs because those doses do not come from Missouri’s allocation. The programs should otherwise be in line with Missouri’s current priority phases.