JEFFERSON CITY- Governor Mike Parson held his weekly COVID-19 briefing Wednesday afternoon, in which he gave an update on COVID-19 vaccine progress and health care capacity in Missouri. Gov. Parson also announced $46 million in child care funding.

Vaccine update

Gov. Parson said during his briefing that the state received shipments of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines and have been successfully administering them for two weeks. 

"We are continuing to work through Phase 1A of our vaccine plan and additional details on Phase 1B will be forthcoming," Parson said.

As of Tuesday, Dec. 29, over 66,000 frontline health care workers and long-term care facility residents and staff have received an initial dose of either vaccine. 

"We've had 314,000 vaccines shipped to us already in the month of December," Dr. Randall Williams said. "People say, 'Wait a minute, there's a discrepancy between how many you've shipped and how many you actually vaccinated' but you've got to remember, like the rest of the country, 50% of our vaccines have gone to long term care facilities... so there's going to be a little bit of lag there."

CVS and Walgreens, through a federal partnership, began vaccinating long-term care facilities' staff and residents on Monday. The vaccine shipments come directly from the federal government to the pharmacies as part of Missouri's allotment of the Moderna vaccine, a release said.

According to a release, facilities across the state will have received another 84,000 initial doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Another 73,000 doses were allotted for next week. Next week is also when those who have received the initial dose of the Pfizer vaccine will receive their second dose. 

Governor Parson says it's important to focus on the number of vaccines we have, even after shortages during the initial rollout.

"I think the main thing is we get it and we want to get it out the door as soon as we can," Parson said.

Vizient partnership

The Governor also addressed the state's partnership with Vizient.

Missouri now has 196 contracted staff through the partnership, which includes:

  • 33 respiratory therapists
  • 75 certified nurses aids
  • 88 nurses with various specialties

The partnership will provide relief for six hospitals across the state. On Monday, 24 health care workers reported to work. The remaining staff will begin throughout the coming days and into the new year.

Child care funding

Gov. Parson also announced $46 million in child care funding that will ensure child care providers can support the needs of working Missouri families.

It will include a new $2.5 million grant opportunity for child care providers across the state. Child care providers can apply for a grant, up to $25,000, to support the needs of school age children who are learning virtually while in their care.

$12 million of the funding will be provided to fund 20% rate differential payments from January to May 2021 for Child Care Subsidy Program providers not currently receiving disproportionate share rate differential payments. 

“In order for Missouri to be a strong and healthy state, we must deliver essential services and support the needs of our working families, especially during COVID-19. As Governor, I am committed to finding innovative ways to do this,” Gov. Parson said. “The funding announced today will continue to help low-income families, support child care providers, and provide new ways to meet the educational needs of students in child care settings.”

The announcement included the continuation of several child care benefits for low-income Missouri residents. 

  • An additional $10.9 million will fund a temporary Child Care Subsidy benefit for up to 60 days from January through May 2021. It is a one-time benefit for low-income Missouri parents who are unemployed. 
  • $12.8 million will fund the Transitional Child Care Subsidy benefits through December 2021 for parents who work, attend school or train for work with an income from 138 to 215% of the federal poverty level (FPL).
    • If their income is between 138 to 176% of the FPL, families will receive a 80% subsidy benefit.
    • If their income is between 177 to 215% of the FPL, families will receive a 60% subsidy benefit.
  • $8.5 million will fund full-time child care subsidy benefits through May 2021 for working parents with eligible school-aged students who are not attending in person.
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