Missouri will be able to vaccinate 339,000 people by the end of the month, Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Dr. Randall Williams announced Friday.
He said this will include all forward-facing health care workers as defined by section 1A in the Missouri vaccination plan, as well as those in long-term care facilities.
The first 51,000 Pfizer vaccines are expected to be made available to 21 freezer sites by Dec. 12. This will be followed by 61,000 Pfizer vaccines a week later and around 105,000 Moderna vaccines that will be sent to hospitals that are not part of the 21 assigned for the Pfizer vaccine. In the third week, 110,000 Pfizer vaccines and 46,000 Moderna vaccines will be available. This is pending the Food and Drug Administration’s Emergency Use Approval.
Williams also said he expects the general public to start being vaccinated by May 1.
Mosaic Life Care Chief Medical Officer Dr. Davin Turner said he expects to have the ability to vaccinate from the hospital by the end of the month. He said he still is awaiting specific instructions from DHSS.
On Wednesday, Gov. Mike Parson, announced that Mosaic Life Care and 11 other hospitals would be provided with additional staff to help increase bed capacity.
Missouri partnered with a nursing agency to send 760 health care workers to the 12 hospital systems.
Turner said with 40 nurses and additional respiratory therapist and other staff, the hospital in St. Joseph could increase bed capacity by 20.
“If we can get up to that many (40 nurses), that certainly will help depending on our census, our staff would be able to not have to work as much overtime we hope, because we will be able to use these nurses and respiratory therapist just as any agency staffing that we would have,” Turner said.
Turner said the hospital has continued to look for agency nursing help and this will provide help to his staff, which he said has been essential in the battle against COVID-19.
As of Friday morning, Mosaic Life Care saw decreased COVID-19 hospitalizations within the system. In St. Joseph there were 52 people hospitalized. In Maryville and Albany, four people were hospitalized at each hospital.
Although hospitalizations within the system are down, Turner said they need to prepare for another spike.
“When we had jumped up even into the 90s, we had all our preparedness plans, we prepared to go up into the 100-150 (hospitalized)...we have plans around what we would do and how we would manage,” Turner said.