- Associated Press - Monday, December 21, 2020

O’FALLON, Mo. (AP) - CVS Health plans to administer about 100,000 coronavirus vaccinations next week at Missouri long-term care facilities as the vaccination rollout expands beyond health care workers, the company said Monday.

The pharmacy chain will vaccinate residents and staff at more than 40,000 long-term care facilities across the U.S. The first of those vaccinations have already begun, but Missouri facilities will see their first vaccinations starting Dec. 28, CVS Health spokesman Charlie Rice-Minoso said.

CVS and its competitor, Walgreens, are facilitating the inoculations at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. Walgreens didn’t immediately reply to a Monday email seeking further information about that company’s plan in Missouri.

Health care workers were the first to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Nursing homes were next on the list because the virus has killed more than 110,000 people at long-term care facilities nationwide, including about half of the 4,947 people who have died of the disease in Missouri.

CVS said vaccinations at nursing homes should be completed in about three months.

Once vaccines are available to everyone, CVS said it plans to provide them at each of its locations. Appointments will be necessary. The company said it hopes to administer about 20 million shots per month. It isn’t clear when those vaccinations will begin, but Missouri’s health director, Dr. Randall Williams, said he expects general public vaccinations to start by April.

Meanwhile, some Missouri facilities have already begun vaccinating people with the newly-approved Moderna vaccine, state health department spokeswoman Lisa Cox said. Citing “some volatility in the supply shipments,” she declined to estimate how many doses of that vaccine will be administered this year.

The health department on Monday reported 10 additional COVID-19 deaths and 3,130 additional confirmed cases, pushing its pandemic total to 368,316 cases.

It appeared that restrictions on indoor dining in St. Louis County will soon be eased. Democratic County Executive Sam Page said Monday that the county health department was finalizing a plan that would allow restaurants to partially resume some indoor dining by the first week of January.

Page announced the restrictions in mid-November as coronavirus cases surged throughout the region. The number of cases has stabilized over the past couple of weeks, but hospitals remain dangerously close to capacity. The restrictions have drawn strong complaints from many restaurant operators.

St. Louis County Health Department spokeswoman Sara Dayley said in an email that cases in the county went from about 140 per day at the start of October to 804 per day on Nov. 17. She credited the county’s restrictions for helping to reduce that number to its current daily average of 534.

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