Missouri Gov. Mike Parson doubles down on opposition to federal COVID-19 vaccine outreach efforts

Parson against door-to-door messaging
Gov. Mike Parson
Posted at 3:30 PM, Jul 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-08 19:24:11-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said Wednesday he does not approve the idea of the federal government coming to Missouri and going door-to-door to promote the COVID-19 vaccine.

The grassroots approach is part of President Joe Biden's community-based campaign, as the country shifts its focus from mass vaccination sites.

"I don't know what the plan is, but I will tell you this, I object to the federal government coming in and going door-to-door to anybody's house in Missouri if they don't want that," Parson said Thursday during a stop in North Kansas City to sign a COVID-19 liability bill into law.

Parson said he thinks such an effort won't be productive.

"I don’t think we need to be out there, scaring people into taking the vaccine. I think that's counterproactive," Parson said.

White House officials contend this "trusted messenger" approach is used to help people better understand the vaccine.

"As we’ve said from the beginning, all of the studies, all of our experiences, the best people to talk about vaccinations with those who have questions are local trusted messengers," said White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Jeff Zients. "For those individuals and organizations that are feeding misinformation and trying to mischaracterize this type of trusted messenger work -- I believe you are doing a disservice to the country, and the doctors, the faith leaders, community leaders and others who are working to get people vaccinated, save lives and help end this pandemic."

Parson also said his stance is not an indication that the state is rejecting assistance from the federal government. The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services recently requested assistance from a COVID-19 surge response team, whose members began arriving in Springfield earlier this week.

Parson expressed his opposition on Twitter Wednesday night, after the first member of a COVID-19 surge response team arrived in Springfield, MO.

Parson said on Thursday he welcomes federal officials to take on any advisory role, something that has been going on since the beginning of the pandemic.

"I want to make to be clear too, regardless of whether it's President Trump's administration or President Biden's, we've had the federal authorities on the ground on many different occasions," Parson said.

The state, according to Parson, doesn't need the federal government to assist in vaccine outreach efforts because places like Kansas City and St. Louis can do so themselves, and have been doing so.

"I don't think there's anything keeping us from doing that now," he said. "I think we've been working with the clergy, we've been working with the urban leagues. All of them have had their outreach programs that we're talking about putting in place."