BURFORDVILLE, Mo. (KFVS/CBS NEWSPATH) – Missouri Governor Mike Parson is continuing to encourage COVID-19 vaccinations but feels “the government doesn’t’ have a place to play in mandates.”
In an interview with KFVS Monday, Parson said when the vaccine first was announced it was known that about 45% of Missouri residents would not want to be inoculated.
“We knew there was going to be a hesitancy in that. And I think we're seeing that. Maybe it's not what we want to see. But we knew that was going to occur. So, I think from that point on we need to do everything we can to encourage people to take the vaccine. And we've also got to understand there's going to be a certain amount of the population that's not going to take the vaccine. And we've got to figure out how to move forward,” said Parson.
The governor also said he continues to feel personal choice is important, whether it be for people to wear masks or get vaccinated.
"Number one, I think when you start talking about mandates, I go back to what I've said. Personal responsibility. I think the vaccine is the same thing. The Government doesn't have a place to play in mandates of the vaccine,” he said. “People need to make that decision. Private businesses need to make that decision. But, we are never going to be on that. And as far as the mask mandate, we haven't changed from where we started with what we feel on the mask mandate. But the other thing I would encourage everybody. And all of a sudden the mask has become the hot issue over the last week or two. But, we need to be talking about the vaccine. The vaccine's the real answer to get us through this time. I think we need to spin that.”
Initially, Parson was not supportive of vaccine incentives, but he recently announced the MO VIP vaccine incentive. When asked if his opinion on masks could change as the station evolves or gets worse, he said they were “totally two different things.”
“We’re really looking at vaccines. Incentives,” he continued. “We’re all encouraged to take the vaccine. And sure, I don’t like the idea that you almost have to pay somebody to take a vaccine. But that’s kind of the point we got to. But we also understand the delta variant is a very serious part of this virus. And we’ve got to do everything we can do. And this incentive program we have is part of the things we use as tools. We’ll see. I think it’s way too early to see really what affect it did have. But, it looks positive right now. So, I’ll be the first to say I’m glad because of people are taking the vaccine, however they take it and they want to take it, I think we want to encourage them to do that.”