Missouri officials are expecting hundreds of thousands of fewer vaccine doses than anticipated this week, just days after eligibility opened to all adults in the state Friday.
This week, the state anticipates receiving roughly 157,040 doses in total — a decline of about 351,460 doses from last week’s projection for the same time period.
By vaccine type, the state will receive 160,760 fewer Pfizer doses, 112,800 fewer Moderna and 77,900 fewer Johnson & Johnson, Missouri vaccine providers were told on a call last week. The state anticipates relying on those reduced levels for future allocations until shipments increase.
“Of course, we would always like to have assurances that those numbers would never change or drop,” said Adam Crumbliss, the director of the Department of Health and Senior Services’ Division of Community and Public Health. “But obviously, there are several factors that impacted that.”
Crumbliss said the state did anticipate a drop and that the state received the new allocations from the federal government Tuesday. It wasn’t immediately clear what led to the steep declines across the board.
Last week, a Baltimore plant mixed up ingredients for two COVID-19 vaccines, potentially ruining up to 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine, according to the New York Times.
Crumbliss said the decline in Missouri’s Johnson & Johnson allocation was not due to the manufacturing plant mix-up — although he said it will impact future weeks’ allocations, which aren’t expected to increase significantly.
During a recent meeting of the Advisory Committee on Equitable COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution, Crumbliss said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had not yet “clearly articulated” what impact the manufacturing issue would have but that it would not immediately cause a major disruption in the state’s vaccine supply pipeline.
Randall Williams, the director of DHSS, echoed that sentiment at a news conference later that afternoon, saying that “we’ve been told that that should not affect our distribution.”
“So we do recognize that these are smaller allocations than what we received last week, but overall, it continues to be on the steady plane of the minimums that we’ve been projecting,” Crumbliss said Tuesday.
The activation of Phase 3 on Friday, which includes all remaining adults who have not yet been vaccinated, made an additional 1.1 million residents eligible — bringing the total number of estimated eligible Missourians to 4.5 million.
Last month, Gov. Mike Parson cited an anticipated increase in vaccine supply as part of the reason for opening the remaining phases sooner than anticipated.
With supply projections lower than expected, it remains to be seen how that may affect predictions that supply will soon outpace demand. The state is estimating that 40% of eligible residents will choose not to get vaccinated.
Phase 2, which includes industries like the construction sector and higher education and vulnerable populations like disproportionately affected racial groups and people experiencing homelessness, was opened on March 29.
With its activation, about 2.57 million residents were eligible but had yet to receive a first dose, according to an April 5 analysis of the state’s vaccine distribution by Deloitte Consulting. Meanwhile, nearly 34% of eligible residents had been vaccinated.