KANSAS CITY, Mo. — More than 130,000 people have responded to the Jackson County Health Department’s COVID-19 Vaccine Survey, including more than 60,000 high-risk individuals.
But the vaccine rollout has been plagued by issues the health department said are out of its control, including Missouri’s decision not to ship any vaccine to the county this week.
“Please know that we are doing all that we can, we understand your frustration, and we stand ready with our partners to provide this service to the community,” the Jackson County Health Department said Friday in a five-tweet message.
We have received nearly 130,000 responses to our COVID-19 vaccine communication form, clearly demonstrating the high demand for the vaccine in our community. Each week, we request vaccine shipments from the state of Missouri, but this week was the first time we did not... [1/5] pic.twitter.com/dbSNtlMGBY— Jackson County Health Department (@JacksonCountyHD) January 29, 2021
Missouri announced two weeks ago that it was moving to Phase 1B of its vaccination plan, which includes people over age 65 and those with serious underlying health conditions, but Jackson County didn’t receive a vaccine shipment this week despite the high demand.
“Each week, we request vaccine shipments from the state of Missouri, but this week was the first time we did not receive any of the first doses we requested,” the Jackson County Health Department said Friday on Twitter.
A spokesperson for Gov. Mike Parson's office said it's a supply-and-demand issue.
"The demand is far greater than the supply at this time," Kelli Jones, who serves as communications director for Parson's office, said in an email to 41 Action News.
The Missouri Department of Health Senior Services said they receive requests for three times the amount of vaccine available.
"Each week, we receive requests from hundreds of vaccinators for about three times more than what the state is allocated from our federal partners, and difficult decisions have to be made," Lisa Cox, communications director for the state health department, said in an email to 41 Action News. "We have been receiving approximately 76,000 doses each week as of late, and we work to allocate equitably with an extremely limited supply."
The Jackson County Health Department acknowledged the “high demand for the vaccine in our community,” but said “at the pace our community is receiving vaccine, it may be several weeks until adequate supply is available.”
The supply-chain issues in receiving vaccine doses from the state’s stockpile have led to delays and frustration — and not only among those hoping to receive the vaccine.
“Know that we are just as frustrated with the process, & are willing & able to vaccinate as soon as we receive more doses,” the health department said.
Jackson County health officials encouraged residents who have yet to fill out the vaccine survey to do so: “The health department will send out communications when we have vaccine available to each group.”
County health officials also suggested checking with your primary care doctor about availability.