Parson to divert doses from pharmacies to boost vaccine rate

Associated Press
Doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine are prepped to be administered to healthcare workers on the frontlines at Truman Medical Center in Kansas City on Dec. 14 (Photo courtesy of Truman Medical Centers/University Health).

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is seeking to take unused doses of the coronavirus vaccine back from pharmacies so they can be distributed to mass vaccination sites operated by the National Guard in an effort to speed up the sluggish pace of immunizations.

Parson spokeswoman Kelli Jones said Tuesday night that the administration is looking at diverting 25,000 doses from CVS and Walgreens, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

"We asked for 25,000 back already and are asking for more," Jones said.

Jones stressed that the maneuver won't keep pharmacies from finishing their work providing vaccinations at nursing homes, which have been particularly hard hit by the spread of COVID-19.

"We are frustrated by slow pace of the federal pharmacy partnership and have been told by the federal government that we can take unused doses back and distribute them to our state-enrolled vaccinators," Jones said Tuesday. "However, sufficient doses will remain to complete all scheduled clinics at every facility enrolled in the federal pharmacy partnership."

Missouri's move comes as other states have begun redirecting the deployment of vaccines under the oversight of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.