ST. LOUIS — They are a couple of million-dollar questions Dr. Alex Garza, Incident Commander of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, said are on the minds of many Missourians right now.
"The question is how much supply is out there and then when can we get it to that larger population?" said Dr. Garza during his daily briefing Wednesday.
For weeks now, the state's top priority has been giving COVID-19 vaccines to more than 66,000 frontline health care workers and long-term care facility residents and staff.
Moreover, Dr. Garza said unexpected challenges have slowed down the process.
"Some weeks we didn't get any vaccine, so this inconsistent delivery, of course, interrupts whatever operational plans we have in getting people vaccinated," Garza said.
And that's why the pandemic task force leader says right now he cannot say exactly when people the show me state can roll up their sleeves and get the covid vaccines.
"The short answer is I don't know, but the larger answer is we're pretty confident that we've gotten through a majority of our healthcare providers," said Dr. Garza.
The good news: he says COVID-related hospitalizations, admissions and deaths at their four, task forces hospitals have slightly dropped in the last couple of weeks.
"The virus is still out there and we cannot let our guard down. We're getting people through the process. Remember, it's a two-shot process and takes some time as well," said Dr. Garza.
The city's health department is also stepping in.
It's now asking its citizens to complete what it calls an online, COVID-19 vaccine survey.
Acting Director Dr. Frederick Echols says the new tool will give residents updates on the vaccines 24 hours a day.
"The survey is available on the City of St. Louis' COVID vaccine page. We want to make sure individuals have accurate information where we are in the distribution plan and we also need them to know which groups are eligible to receive the vaccine at this point and time. Yes, I think it will be effective. We just need people to be a little more patient and continue to wash their hands, maintain social distancing and of course, wear their masks," said Dr. Alex Garza.
If you'd like to sign up for the city's new, online vaccine distribution survey just go to the city's website.
You'll then get updates on a vaccine opportunity for you.
Be prepared to submit your name, birth date and other basic information.