ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) — As more mass vaccination events are planned and underway in the St. Louis area, some residents said they’re still traveling hours to get an appointment. Michael Meredith, from Creve Coeur, said he was pre-registered with almost every health department and hospital system nearby. As the 68-year-old grew impatient, he decided to sign-up for the only appointment he could find available, in Canton, Missouri – about 140 miles north of St. Louis.
Several mass vaccine events are and will be scheduled in the St. Louis area.
“To be honest in my personal, humble, layman’s opinion, I think the vaccination program borders on criminal,” Meredith said. Last month, Meredith made the 6-hour roundtrip to Canton, Missouri to get his first dose of the vaccine. He said his emails complaining to the state have gone unanswered. Now, he’s trying to get Governor Mike Parson’s attention in an unconventional way.
Meredith sent a reimbursement form to Governor Mike Parson and Health Director Randall Williams, asking them to pay him $121.26 for the 282-mile road trip. “I looked online at the office of administration. It has .43 cents a mile for Missouri state employees, so I figure if it’s good enough for employees, it’s good enough for me,” Meredith said.
Recently, supply has increased dramatically in the St. Louis area. But for weeks, viewers have told us they’ve had to drive hours for appointments. Alper Inan suffers from leukemia and said he drove 220 miles from O’Fallon, Missouri to Caruthersville, Missouri to get his first dose. “Forget about COVID, even the simple flu could kill me,” Inan said. “That’s why I was really anxious to get it.”
On Tuesday, Meredith will make another trip to Canton for his second dose. He said he doesn’t expect to get reimbursed but is trying to make a point and get state leaders to respond. “Ideally I’d like to hear Governor Parson say you know we messed up, oops, sorry about that, we can do better,” Inan said.
When News 4 asked the governor’s office if they would reimburse Missourians for travel, they responded, “While many free transportation services are available to those who need it to get to a vaccination site, we are not aware of any federal or state program that pays for mileage for travel to a vaccination site.”
Copyright 2021 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved