COVID-19 Vaccine Vials

COVID-19 Coronavirus Vaccine vials in a row macro close up. 

A Franklin County official is criticizing the state’s distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

In an email to Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services officials and Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s communications director, Kelli Jones, Franklin County Presiding Commissioner Tim Brinker said the state is not providing enough vaccine to the 11 counties, including Franklin County, which make up Region C.

Other counties in the region are: Pike, Lincoln, Warren, St. Charles, St. Louis, Jefferson, Washington, St. Francois, St. Genevieve and Perry. St. Louis city is also included. The region accounts for 37 percent of the state’s population, but to date has only received 15,600 doses, or 17 percent, of the vaccines allocated by the federal government to Missouri.

“The 15,600 is only one part of what should be a larger allocation, resulting in a significant under allocation to this region,” Brinker wrote in his email.

He continued, “Please know that I understand the shortage of available vaccines, but also know that I would not be fulfilling my duties as presiding commissioner if I did not request this action be explained or addressed as soon as possible.”

According to the state health department, 7.3 percent of Franklin County’s residents have received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Of those vaccinated, fewer than 2.5 percent have received a second dose.

Franklin County’s vaccination rates are comparable per capita to other counties in the region, according to data from the state health department.

The vaccination rates in the region are Pike, 1,290 first doses, 7 percent; Lincoln, 3,496 first doses, 5.9 percent; Warren, 1,673 first doses, 4.7 percent; St. Charles, 28,103 first doses, 7 percent; St. Louis, 78,909 first doses, 7.9 percent; Jefferson, 11,671 first doses, 5.2 percent; Washington, 1,545 first doses, 6.2 percent; St. Francois, 4,823 first doses, 7.2 percent; Ste. Genevieve, 1,965 first doses, 11 percent; Perry, 2,283 first doses, 11.9 percent; and St. Louis city, 19,477 first doses, 6.5 percent.

Brinker also criticized the state for how it is allocating the doses within the region.

The state has informed the health care systems that these doses are for the entire region, not just for health care systems, according to Brinker, who wrote this implies the doses allocated are also for public health sites and Federally Qualified Health Centers.

“This allocation is inconsistent with the state’s own published plan that outlines distribution to the health systems/hospitals, as well as a separate allocation for public health, the FQHCs and a category called “other” and another category for the National Guard,” Brinker wrote.

Brinker stated in his email there have been vaccination clinics canceled in Region C as a result of the “inequity of distribution to date.” In an interview with The Missourian, Brinker said SSM was one of the health care systems which has had to cancel its clinics.

“If there is an amount that would be fair and equitable, that amount would be 34,456 to match the 37 percent population represented by our state population ratio,” Brinker wrote.