Rural vaccine surpluses around Missouri spark frustration and questions

Rural counties in Missouri haven't been able to find enough residents for mass vaccination events. They left thousands of surplus doses. Meanwhile, urban residents are driving hours to wait in line for their chance at a vaccine.


National News

March 8, 2021 - 10:15 AM

ST. LOUIS (TNS) — Rural counties across Missouri haven’t been able to find enough residents to use up coronavirus vaccine sent to them for mass vaccination events in recent weeks, leaving thousands of surplus doses, even as the state’s urban residents, desperate for a dose, drive hours to get in line.

In Putnam County, along the Iowa border, 1,488 doses remained at the end of a vaccination event last weekend. In southeast Missouri’s Bollinger County, only about half of the available doses were used at an event Feb. 24, and the leftovers were sent elsewhere. And in Lewis County, near the state’s northeast corner, another mass vaccination event concluded with hundreds of extra doses — enough for a follow-up day of appointments that ended up catering largely to people from far outside the area.

In total, more than 7,700 doses of vaccine were left over after mass vaccination events across the state last week, according to data from the Missouri Department of Public Safety. The records show that the remaining doses were usually transferred to another provider in the area or held by the health department for later use.

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