Missouri has the worst vaccination rate in the country for the first coronavirus shot, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In an analysis of CDC data, Missouri ranks last in the percentage of residents who have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with less than 4% of Missourians receiving the initial shot as of Sunday.
Illinois ranked 45th, with 4.4% of the state population receiving the first dose. Alaska sits at the top of the list, administering the initial shot to 10.7% of its residents. Nationally, 5.6% of U.S. residents had completed the first vaccination round as of Sunday.
However, when it comes to the percent of the population that’s received both doses of the vaccine, Missouri ranks higher than the national average, with 1.2% of residents receiving both doses compared with 1% nationally. Illinois has administered two shots to 1.1% of its population.
More than 318,000 people have registered with St. Louis County to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, County Executive Sam Page said Sunday, but the geographic distribution is not equal.
The total who registered through Friday is about one-third of the county’s overall population, though Page said some registrants are not county residents.
Registration data released Sunday revealed higher percentages of people from the county’s wealthier parts of central and west St. Louis County and a significantly lower share of registrants across swaths of north St. Louis County.
“Registration trends are consistent with preexisting racial and socioeconomic disparities,” Page said. “We must engage communities that are underrepresented to ensure that everyone has access to the vaccine.”
St. Louis County has administered about 1,150 doses from its first of two batches of vaccine and has distributed a quarter of the 3,900 doses in the second shipment delivered last week, Page said. This weekend’s distribution was focused on providing doses to first-responders and emergency service staff.
“I share this with you to share with you the immense interest there is in getting the vaccine,” Page said. “Here and across the country, the interest is high but the supply remains low.”
County officials will be working with community partners “to get the message out to everyone about how to get the vaccine,” Page said.
St. Louis County residents may register on the county health department's website.
Missouri began rolling out large-scale COVID-19 vaccinations in mid-December to hospital workers and nursing homes. This month, Gov. Mike Parson announced that Missouri expected a boost in shipments and would begin vaccinations for almost 3 million public health employees, first responders, emergency service workers, then residents 65 and older, or with certain health conditions. As of Thursday, just 205,000 Missourians or about 3% of the population had received the first doses of the vaccine, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“As soon as we can get those vaccines, we’ll get them into the arms of the people who need them,” Page said. “This is frustrating for everyone. I know the supply is limited and we would like to get those vaccines as soon as possible.”
Officials will announce the county’s first “mass vaccination site” in north St. Louis County later this week, Page said.
“This is a big task, but I can’t think of one more urgent, or vital to our community,” he said.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is offering free COVID-19 testing to state residents Monday through Friday at St. Louis city and county locations. Details on dates and times can be found on the state’s website.
Missouri added 2,137 new COVID-19 cases to its total Sunday. The state’s seven-day rolling average is 1,712 cases per day, down from 2,031 per day a week ago, according to Post-Dispatch calculations. Health officials in Illinois added 3,292 cases to its overall count.
Since the first case was reported in Missouri, a total of 449,565 cases have been reported statewide. A total of 6,548 Missourians have died from complications or health problems linked to the virus, including seven added Sunday.