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Who’s Getting Vaccinated In Kansas City, Missouri? Many People Who Don’t Live There, New Report Suggests

Outside Truman Medical Center on Charlotte Street.
Elana Gordon
Truman Medical Centers has been one of the main vaccination hubs in Jackson County.

Nearly a third of Missouri residents have traveled outside of their home counties to get vaccine shots.

A new report sheds light on why vaccination rates for Kansas City area residents remain low, even though many vaccinations have been administered there.

More than 20% of vaccines administered in Jackson County, Missouri, were given to people who may be from outside the state or metro area, according to a report by Deloitte Consulting.

The report, which was produced as a slideshow for the state, also showed that Jackson County has the second highest number of eligible residents who had not been vaccinated as of Feb. 17.

Cass Count also had high numbers of eligible residents who had not been vaccinated. So did urban counties in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

The Deloitte report, which was dated Feb. 22, was obtained by the Missouri Independent, an online journalism outlet that focuses on state government.

While more than 84,000 vaccine doses had been administered in Jackson County by the week ending Feb. 12, only about half were given to Jackson County residents, according to the report. More than 17,500 were provided to people whose county of residence was unknown.

The study hinted at a problem that may exist in other parts of the state as well.

“Unknown vaccinations — accounting for approximately 14.9% of total vaccinations — are potentially out-of-state residents per guidance from the State of Missouri,” the report said.

Meanwhile, 238,400 Jackson County residents eligible to be vaccinated had not received shots as of Feb. 17.

The report also found that large numbers of Missouri residents aren’t getting vaccines in their local communities. It said that 30.4% of people who had received shots had traveled outside of their home counties to do so.

Large numbers of Clay County residents traveled elsewhere to get their shots in the first week February, and large numbers of Platte County residents traveled elsewhere during the second week.

Revised guidance issued by the state in mid-February calls for vaccinators to prioritize Missouri residents.

As a health care reporter, I aim to empower my audience to take steps to improve health care and make informed decisions as consumers and voters. I tell human stories augmented with research and data to explain how our health care system works and sometimes fails us. Email me at alexs@kcur.org.
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