Missouri urges CDC to waive $25 limit for vaccine incentive plan

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Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (photo courtesy of Missouri Governor's Office).

By TESSA WEINBERG
The Missouri Independent

Missouri requested Friday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reconsider its rejection of the state’s vaccine incentive plan.

Robert Knodell, the acting director of Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services, urged CDC Director Rochelle Walensky to make an exception to CDC guidance that states incentives may not exceed $25 in value per person if supplemental CDC funding is used.

“The intensity of vaccine hesitancy is significant and requires well-considered approaches tailored to each state, rather than blanket policies that preclude options that have a realistic opportunity for success,” Knodell wrote in a Friday letter.

The appeal follows Gov. Mike Parson blasting the CDC a day earlier for rejecting the state’s plan to offer incentives for vaccines as infections and hospitalizations blamed on the COVID-19 Delta variant continue to soar.

“The CDC didn’t accept our plan, which is just totally ridiculous that they would turn us down with Missouri in the situation we’re in right now,” Parson told reporters after a bill signing in Springfield, according to the Springfield News-Leader. “So, I think it’s just another obvious problem with the CDC.”

Parson, who had previously expressed doubts about the effectiveness of incentives, has turned to them in recent weeks as pressure mounts for a stronger state response to the summer surge of cases. Despite promises that an incentive program was imminent, a program has yet to launch.

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