(From Seventh District Congressman Billy Long)Several weeks ago I wrote about the breakthrough that is mRNA vaccines and their safety and efficacy. Thanks to President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed, the United States has led the way in vaccine manufacturing, distribution, and administration.
Like many states, Missouri administered its vaccines in phases, first going to the most vulnerable in our population and health care workers, then to at-risk individuals, then to front-line workers, and finally to any individual who wants one.
The Governor and his team have also been transparent with the data and vaccine availability throughout every step of the process. COVID-19 vaccination data is updated regularly and is publicly available at https://covidvaccine.mo.gov/data/ for anyone to see. At this dashboard, anyone can monitor the state’s vaccination rate and view data based on age, sex, race, or ethnicity. You can also view county-level vaccination rates.
Missouri has made great progress in getting vaccines into arms. As of this week, over 3.8 million doses have been administered and over 1.6 million people have completed vaccination. Overall, 37.1% of Missouri residents have initiated or completed their vaccinations.
For example, we can make getting a COVID-19 vaccine easier and more convenient. In Joplin, a drive-thru clinic has made it so you never need to leave your car to get vaccinated. This is a model that some clinics are already doing and can be replicated on a larger scale. Convenience is a good way to get folks to turn out for a vaccine. If getting a vaccine is a hassle, people may not go out of their way to get vaccinated. Convenience and simplicity are key, and Missouri is making great progress on that front.
These COVID-19 vaccines have been tested, approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and are proven to be safe and effective. I consulted with my doctor to make sure taking the vaccine was the right thing for me to do.
I have said before how there is light at the end of the tunnel, and thanks to the effort of Governor Parson and his team, that light is even brighter for Missourians. Infection rates and hospitalizations in Missouri are down and folks are getting their vaccines. If you haven’t received your vaccine yet, I would encourage you to either sign up through the state’s portal or find a vaccinator near you. You can find a local vaccinator at https://covidvaccine.mo.gov/find/#map.