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Missouri governor says Biden's community-based vaccination effort not welcome in his state

MO saw 56% increases in COVID cases in June
Gov. Mike Parson Missouri
Posted at 6:06 AM, Jul 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-08 09:06:53-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — President Joe Biden's plan to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations with a grassroots, community-based campaign is not welcome in Missouri, Gov. Mike Parson said Wednesday.

"I have directed our health department to let the federal government know that sending government employees or agents door-to-door to compel vaccination would not be an effective or a welcome strategy in Missouri," Parson, a Republican said in a tweet Wednesday night.

Biden announced on Tuesday that as need wanes for mass vaccination sites, he plans to shift focus to hyperlocal efforts.

"Now we need to go to community by community, neighborhood by neighborhood, and oftentimes, door to door — literally knocking on doors — to get help to the remaining people protected from the virus," Biden said. "Look, equity, equality — it remains at the heart of our responsibility of ensuring that communities that are the hardest hit by the virus have the information and the access to get vaccinated."

Despite his objection to Biden's plan, Parson said the state would "continue to offer convenient vaccination options" to Missourians who want to be vaccinated.

"(Wife) Teresa and I both have received the COVID-19 vaccine, and we encourage anyone age 12 and up to get vaccinated to protect themselves and those around them," Parson said.

Biden's new initiative loops in 42,000 local pharmacies, puts a "renewed emphasis" on providing vaccines to family doctors and health care providers" and increases the availability of mobile vaccine clinics.

"We're also intensifying our efforts to meet people where they are, outside of their neighborhoods — pharmacies and doctor's offices," Biden said. "This includes continuing to work with employers to make vaccination shots available at work — on the worksite, if possible — and/or give their employees paid time off to get vaccinated at a nearby facility."

Parson's remarks come as the first member of a COVID-19 surge response team arrived in Springfield, where the state has seen an influx of cases due to the dangerous delta variant.

Shortly after Parson issued his stance on Biden's plan, Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas said in a tweet, "Let's fight COVID, not the federal government."

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and local health department data show a 56% increase in COVID-19 cases in June.

This story was originally published by Kari Williams on Scripps station KSHB in Kansas City, Missouri.