“SSM Health is currently finalizing our plans on how we will vaccinate our staff, but frontline staff, most at risk will be the first to receive the vaccine,” said spokeswoman Stephanie Zoller in an email Wednesday.
Williams said vaccination of the first groups should be complete by the end of January.
By February, roughly 3 million “critical infrastructure” workers will likely be able to get the vaccine, Williams said. That group includes workers at food manufacturing plants, teachers and first responders.
By that point, regional vaccination support and implementation teams will be in place to help in distribution, Williams said.
Within each phase of vaccine distribution, priority may need to be given to those over 65 or who have health conditions that may put them at greater risk, he said.
The state is expected to reach phase three, when the vaccine is available to the general public, by mid-April or early May, Williams said. Residents should expect to see a “robust campaign” of mass vaccination events, including drive-thru vaccinations similar to the drive-thru testing that has occurred.
He said 70% to 80% of residents would have to have already been infected or vaccinated to achieve so-called herd immunity, which drastically reduces the chance of infection for even those who have not been vaccinated. But Williams recognizes that there will be challenges.