KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As part of a Kansas City metro COVID-19 rollout plan, KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas said he wants to emphasize access for areas health care systems don't reach.
"Part of the reason about all the challenges on Blacks who are infected, Hispanics and others, is because our health care system in some ways, is terribly unfair in the provision of care and we’re seeing that right now in this," Lucas said. “Missouri is a state that does not have Medicaid expansion, so Missouri is a state where those who are poor are disproportionately not getting the same access to care."
A first wave would focus on health care and essential workers, as well as high-risk populations, following the state's Stronger Together COVID-19 plan.
“I don’t have beef there," Lucas said. "I just want to make sure that as we roll out, we avoid the mistake we make too often in government and that is making sure that we have everybody who is brought into the process everybody who wants a vaccine have an opportunity to get it."
The second wave would focus on minority communities, according to Lucas.
Missouri makes up 2% of the country's population, which is why Lucas said the state will be allotted 2% of the available doses in the first wave of the vaccine.
The mayor also said his "grave concern" is that if a vaccine is rolled out, it will "go to the folks that know the institutions, folks like me who may be able to have that physician relationship and call in, but what about everybody else?"
Another focus is where vaccination sites will be. Lucas confirmed there has been collaboration with public safety departments to help manage the flow of individuals arriving to receive a vaccine.
When asked if large outdoor venues like Arrowhead or Kauffman stadiums have been looked at to house mass vaccinations, Lucas said that sort of work is done.
“We need to make sure that it’s a venue that can handle it, a venue that can handle a lot of cars and when you start to add all those together they’re actually aren’t that many," he said.
Those involved in the metro's rollout plan, according to Lucas, include: Gov. Mike Parson, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the Office of Emergency Services, the state's National Guard, leadership in Jefferson City and Dr. Rex Archer and Dr. Erica Carney with Emergency Medical Services.
The vaccine will not initially be available for children and pregnant women because safety in those populations has not been evaluated yet, per the state's vaccination site. The site also noted no resident can be denied a vaccine based on their ability to pay, as long as they qualify at that time under the state’s phased approach.