Boone Hospital Center is ready to receive more coronavirus vaccine from the state health department whenever the time comes.

The state health department’s vaccine distribution plan for February, which diverts more doses to designated regional hospitals, does not include Boone Hospital as a distributor. Instead, University of Missouri Health Care is getting extra doses every other week, allowing it to stage mass vaccination clinics.

Both Jefferson City hospitals — Capital Region Medical Center and SSM St. Mary’s Hospital — are part of the “high throughput” vaccination program.

Dr. Robin Blount, vice president and chief medical officer at Boone Hospital, said the hospital has been in contact with the state and followed the process to apply to be a mass vaccinator.

“The state is very limited in what they can provide and they have to make some choices,” she said.

State leaders have been criticized for how vaccines are distributed, with St. Louis-area leaders this week questioning what they say is a lack of doses being sent to the populous region. Gov. Mike Parson fired back at those critics on Thursday and noted that demand continues to exceed supply.

The state is currently vaccinating first responders, people 65 and older and those with certain health conditions. About 9.4% of the state’s population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine, according to the state’s coronavirus dashboard.

About 12.3% of Boone County’s population has received a first dose. The number is 13.3% in neighboring Cole County.

Blount said Boone Hospital is ready to participate in any mass vaccination sites in the county and remains prepared to reopen routine vaccination clinics.

“We could set that up in no time — we are ready to do it,” she said.

The state health department has yet to explain why Boone Hospital was not picked, but department spokeswoman Lisa Cox explained why University Hospital is a part of the current plan in response to questions about Boone Hospital.

“The University of Missouri Hospital System had demonstrated a robust and effective capability to store and disseminate vaccine across numerous locations. We appreciate the work and partnership with Boone Hospital Center,” she said.

The state’s current model is planned to last through the month of February, and Cox said it will be reviewed.

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