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What the end of the COVID public health emergency means in Missouri and Kansas

Tyrone Tyner, a medical assistant at Truman Medical Center prepares a drive through patient for a COVID-19 test on Oct. 28.
Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Tyrone Tyner, a medical assistant at Truman Medical Center prepares a drive through patient for a COVID-19 test on Oct. 28, 2020. The end of the public health emergency means insurers can now pass the cost on to policy holders.

The federal public health emergency over COVID, declared in 2020, came to an end on May 11. Health officials say the expiration of the order means that vaccines and tests are no longer being provided free from the federal government.

After more than three years, the U.S. government has declared an end to the public health emergency declared at the start of the COVID pandemic. Tens of thousands of people died from the virus in Missouri and Kansas alone.

During the crisis, much of the preventative care such as vaccines and testing came at no cost to the patient. But the end of the declared emergency means insurers can now pass on the bill — although vaccines will still be available for a while.

"The White House says people without insurance will still be able to get free COVID-19 vaccines — and treatments like Paxlovid — through 2024," NPR reports.

Dr. Mary Anne Jackson, dean of the UMKC School of Medicine, and Mariah Chrans, program director at the Community Health Council of Wyandotte County, reflected on the COVID-19 crisis and how they expect health officials to monitor and manage the virus in the future.

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