Missouri adjusts COVID-19 vaccination allocations to prioritize ‘high-throughput’ locations

Posted at 12:28 PM, Feb 01, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Northland will become vaccine central in the Kansas City region for two weeks in February.

Missouri announced Monday that the state health department will focus on delivering COVID-19 vaccines to health care partners able to administer at least 5,000 doses per week throughout February.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services included two hospitals located north of the Missouri River as part of the state’s new emphasis on “high-throughput” locations, which begins this week.

North Kansas City Hospital, Liberty Hospital and Truman Medical Centers will receive the Region A allocations this week and the week of Feb. 15.

The HCA Health System and Saint Luke’s Health System will receive allocations for the weeks beginning Feb. 8 and Feb. 22.

Bothwell Regional Medical Center in Sedalia, Cass Regional Medical Center in Harrisonville, Golden Valley Memorial Hospital in Clinton and Fitzgibbon Hospital in Marshall also will receive a portion of Region A’s vaccines next week and the final week in February.

Mosaic Life Care in St. Joseph will receive all of the Region H allocation for the high-throughput program, according to information released Monday by the state.

Extremely limited supply

Missouri currently receives about 76,000 doses per week from the federal government, which are divided up among nine regions determined by the state health department.

“We are committed to fairly allocating doses in regions throughout the state and working with vaccinators to ensure efficient administration of the vaccine,” Gov. Mike Parson said in a statement. “Our partnership with the selected hospitals will help provide the consistency needed for effective planning of high-volume vaccine clinics to occur at the local level.”

The high-throughput locations will receive 53% of the state’s allocation. Most locations won’t receive anywhere close to 5,000 doses per week until the supply increases.

“Actual allocations for each selected hospital will be proportional to regional population,” the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said in a statement. “Weekly vaccine delivery from the federal allocation will rotate between the groups of identified hospitals and partners shown below to reduce the burden on individual organizations and extend the geographic reach of the effort.”

In addition to giving a little more than half of the weekly COVID-19 vaccine allocations to selected hospitals, nearly one-quarter of the supply, an estimated 23%, will be dedicated to regional mass vaccination clinic put on in partnership between local health authorities and the Missouri National Guard.

Finally, “local public health agencies” and “federally qualified health centers” each will receive 8% of the state’s weekly vaccine stockpile with the remaining 8% going to other health care entities that request vaccine doses.

The Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department won't receive much vaccine, because the state is allocating on 8% for all local health departments in the state.

"We will be focused on getting our limited supply to populations and demographics that have suffered most during the pandemic," Michelle Pekarsky, the public information officer for the KCMO Health Department, told 41 Action News via email.

Clay County plans clinic week

Clay County officials said the goal initially will be to vaccinate “up to 4,500 individuals every other week” with the ability to ramp up to 3,500 per day when more COVID-19 vaccine is available.

North Kansas City and Liberty hospitals are part of the Operation Safe coalition with Cerner, the Clay County Public Health Center, William Jewell College along with the cities of Liberty, North Kansas City, Gladstone, Smithville, Kearney and Excelsior Springs.

Operation Safe’s goal is “is to provide eligible individuals who work or live in Clay County an opportunity to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible within the state’s tiered structure.”

Vaccine will be distributed by appointment only. No walk-up appointments will be allowed.

Clay County residents who are interested in receiving a vaccination should complete the Clay County Public Health Center’s COVID-19 Vaccine Interest Form. The county health department will reach out when a vaccine is available to set up an appointment.

The first Operation Safe vaccination clinics will take place from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Cerner World Headquarters Campus, 2800 Rock Creek Parkway in Kansas City, Missouri.

Again, vaccines will be administered by appointment only.

As the vaccine supply increases, Clay County will announce additional health care partners and clinic locations may be announced.

More clinics coming

HCA Health and Stain Luke's Health are coordinating vaccine clinics for next week and the week of Feb. 22.

"HCA Midwest Health and Saint Luke’s Health System are in the process of finalizing our respective vaccination plans based on the anticipated allotments we’ll each receive," according to joint statement to 41 Action News. "Once those plans are final, we’ll provide more information for how those who meet current eligibility criteria can be vaccinated."

Truman Medical Centers has administered 16,000 doses, including 13,000 first doses, to date. The hospital's health care system said it has the capacity for 2,500 appointments per day, but that is subject to vaccine availability.

Residents interested in receiving a vaccine appointment through Truman Medical Centers should call 816-404-CARE (2273).

Golden Valley in Clinton said in a statement it was "proud" to be chosen and will get details about its distribution plan out in the coming days.

“Starting next week, we will have a guaranteed steady supply of COVID-19 vaccines to administer to Missouri residents," Craig Thompson, CEO at Golden Valley Memorial Healthcare, said in a statement. "Our vaccine clinic is extremely efficient. We schedule appointments for people to receive their shot so we can get them through the process quickly, while enabling us to immunize as many people as possible.”

Only the beginning

As hospitals work to finalize their plans, Dave Dillon, spokesperson for the Missouri Hospital Association, said he expects many of them to form community partnerships to make the mass clinics possible.

"To do this effectively, we're going to see a lot of the work being done off the hospital campus," he said. "In fact, it may not make a lot of sense to do it just simply from a logistical standpoint on the hospital campus."

Dillon said other local hospitals that are not a part of this plan may still be vaccinating.

"While for the majority of the public I would recommend they become engaged with the larger events, it doesn't mean that hospitals that aren't participating in this first round won't be in the future engaged," Dillon said.

Dillon said the plan does bring up a cause for concern about the Federal Government holding back the number of vaccine doses over time. He said the Government will monitor the rate of vaccination for its shipments and may diminish dose numbers to states that aren't doing well.

"We want to prove the Federal Government wrong and do this highly effectively and in a way that gets rid of all the vaccine that's being delivered through their shipments so we're on the upside of expansion of vaccines coming into the state as opposed to sanctions against the state's vaccine allotments because of delayed vaccinations," Dillon said.

Limited vaccine availability continues to hinder inoculation efforts in Missouri and across the country. The state said Monday there are more than 2 million Missouri residents eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations based on the current phase, but

After Jackson County health officials complained publicly about not receiving any vaccine from the state for new first doses last week, the state health department and Gov. Mike Parson’s office both blamed a limited supply in statements Friday to 41 Action News.

Editor's note: The original version of the story incorrectly stated the dates of the vaccination clinic at Cerner, which will be Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 4-6.