When the calendar switches over to April, Missouri will start Phase 2 of its COVID-19 vaccination plan. It’s about time.

Phase 2 will allow huge segments of the population to be eligible for the vaccine. It helps the state catch up with Illinois, which has been far more proactive in getting out the vaccine. And while the Marion County area has been fantastic in distributing its allocation of doses, the elderly in the St. Louis metro area are still waiting for the shots that will give them the freedom to get out of the house and enjoy life again.

I got my first round of COVID vaccine at Hannibal Regional Hospital. (You can click here to schedule your shot or see if you meet eligibility requirements.)  My experience there was flawless. I went on the hospital’s website at 9:58 a.m. and scheduled my appointment for 10:10 that same morning. I was back home by 10:30. It went that fast, and there were plenty of slots available. As I was waiting the required 15 minutes to gauge any adverse reaction, I struck up a conversation with an elderly woman who had made the trip from St. Louis. She had registered for her vaccine in several places in her area, but she’s still on the waiting list. My elderly in-laws are experiencing the same problems, but they’re too sick to travel here, where the vaccine is plentiful. Don’t be concerned by people from metro areas coming here. There is enough vaccine for everyone and if they’re not used, they have to be thrown out.

Kudos to the healthcare organizations locally that have worked so hard to make this shot process as painless as possible. And shame on the state for failing the metro areas. No, not everyone who is eligible for the vaccine wants it, but by this time, all of the most vulnerable in Missouri should have had at least the opportunity to get inoculated.

The Phase 2 eligibility starts on April 1. It targets equity and economic recovery. Click here for a full list of Missourians eligible