**This is a developing story. It will be updated as more information becomes available.
Nearly every healthcare worker and long-term care facility staff member and resident in Missouri will have the opportunity to receive a vaccination against the coronavirus by the end of December or early January, according to Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director Randall Williams.
Williams announced in a virtual media conference Friday that in the coming weeks the state is expecting to receive 339,775 total doses of coronavirus vaccinations from Pfizer and Moderna, which he said will be enough for nearly all of the approximately 350,000 people in the state who are employed as healthcare workers or long-term care facility staff, or are residents of a longterm care facility, to receive the first of two injections. Also included will be hospital staff such as clergy members and housekeeping. This group of people makes up Phase 1A of Missouri's vaccination plan. They will be eligible for the second injection after 21 days for the Pfizer vaccine and after 28 days for the Moderna one.
The state is scheduled to receive 51,675 doses of the Pfizer vaccine around Dec. 12, which will be administered at ten sites statewide. There are only 10 approved sites because the vaccine must be kept at a temperature of 94 degrees below 0, which not every facility is capable of. Williams said the sites will not be shared publicly until the vaccines are delivered.
One week after this first round of vaccines, officials expect to receive about 63,000 more doses of Pfizer's vaccine and 105,000 doses Moderna's, followed a week later with around 110,000 Pfizer doses and around 46,000 Moderna doses.
Moderna's vaccine needs to be stored at 4 degrees below 0, so it will be used at facilities that can't administer the Pfizer vaccine, particularly in rural areas. The state is partnering with Walgreens and CVS pharmacies to offer the vaccines. Williams also said that facilities will either administer the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, not a mixture of both.
"We now fully think everyone (of the 350,000 Phase 1A-eligible people) will be able to get the first shot in December if not even January," Williams said. The second round of vaccine injections for those people will happen in February.
Williams, Gov. Parson and other state officials are planning to offer the vaccine to all of Missourians who are interested in receiving the vaccine in phases throughout 2021.
During Phase 1B, the vaccine will be made available to Missouri's high-risk residents and essential workers, as well as any remaining long-term care residents or staff who were not vaccinated in Phase 1A. The people in this group will include first responders, teachers, people in the defense industry and childcare workers. About half of Missouri residents, or roughly 3 million people, fall into this category.
Williams pointed out that at some point during this phase, it's expected that two more coronavirus vaccines — AstraZeneca's and Johnson & Johnson's — will become available.
"We will have in February the potential to have 3 million people vaccinated with four vaccines, so you can imagine the logistics of that," Williams said. "We planned for that."
The vaccine is free, and although providers are allowed to charge a fee of under $25 for administering the injection, Wilson said it is correct that ultimately no one will be denied a vaccine due to financial reasons.