Today, Governor Mike Parson announced that Missouri has submitted its plan for administering the impending COVID-19 vaccine to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Governor Parson was joined by Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) Director Dr. Randall Williams during today’s weekly briefing to announce the completion of the plan, which was due to the CDC by October 16. In April, the CDC began communicating with the DHSS Bureau of Immunizations regarding early planning efforts, and multi-agency planning began in July. In August, a larger group of more than 75 State team members, 10 Missouri National Guardsmen, and 50 federal and local partners began working together to develop Missouri’s COVID-19 vaccine response plan.The state received the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program Interim Playbook just one month ago. Missouri’s planning efforts are based upon CDC guidance to anticipate a phased availability of vaccines within the state. Recognizing the likelihood of limited availability, Missouri’s plan first focuses the initial doses toward reducing or stopping death and disability by reducing the stress on health care systems caring for affected patients. The state plans to collaborate with health care systems and pharmacy and community partners to vaccinate long-term care facility staff and other health care workers. As vaccine availability expands, vaccination efforts will be aimed at residents most at risk, the elderly, and those with medical conditions placing them at high risk for poor outcomes. Simultaneously, efforts will be made to reach essential workers in schools and critical businesses. As availability continues to increase, the plan’s final phase will help ensure every Missourian who wants a vaccination is able to obtain one. A unique aspect of Missouri’s COVID-19 vaccination plan is recognition of the primacy of local communities and the state’s role to assist them in their efforts. While a state implementation team is responsible for coordinating with federal agencies, this plan empowers local and regional implementation teams with additional financial and technical support from the state to convene community leaders, citizen advocates, and local health care providers who know the most about their communities. Missouri’s plan builds on the existing network of immunizing providers across Missouri, augmenting their efforts in areas of provider shortages. Preparations and scenario exercises are actively continuing while awaiting an approved vaccine. As part of Operation Warp Speed, federal agencies will announce when a COVID-19 vaccine is approved. To view Missouri’s COVID-19 vaccine plan, click here. To learn more about Missouri’s COVID-19 response, visit health.mo.gov/coronavirus.