COVID’s Delta variant surges in Missouri

Free COVID vaccinations available to protect yourself and your family

A COVID-19 variant known as the Delta variant is spreading rapidly throughout Missouri, and Kansas City leaders are urging residents and visitors to take the variant seriously. The KCMO Health Department provides free vaccination opportunities at its office at 24th and Troost and through multiple partners.


Their concern is amplified for two other reasons: Missouri has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country and the highest number of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people.


The Delta variant is tricky because those who have it may mistake it for a bad cold. While ‘traditional’ COVID symptoms are cough, difficulty breathing, and loss of taste or smell, the Delta variant displays differently. The number one symptom is a headache, followed by a sore throat, running nose, and fever. This is especially true for young people, which adds to the concern since they are by far the least likely to be vaccinated.


Last week, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services announced the variant has become prevalent in communities throughout Missouri.


In February, DHSS began testing wastewater samples to see if these variants were present. These testing results are displayed in a new layer of the COVID-19 Sewershed Surveillance Story Map.


Only 41% of Kansas City residents have received their first dose of vaccine. To avoid a continued spike in cases, the city needs to significantly increase this vaccination rate, especially in those between 12 years and 50 years old.


“If you have been waiting to get vaccinated or to vaccinate your children 12 and older, the wait window is over,” said Rex Archer, MD, KCMO director of health. “We are seeing a significant surge in cases in southwest Missouri. There is only a small window of opportunity to get vaccinated before the variant takes hold.”


This variant is 66% more transmissible than the Alpha, or first variant, and twice as likely to have more serious disease. The Alpha variant infects two people for every one person while the Delta variant can infect five to six people for every one person.


"I am glad to see that thousands of Kansas Citians are fully vaccinated," said Mayor Quinton Lucas. "However, that means far too many unvaccinated Kansas Citians are still at risk for infection — especially with the more transmittable Delta variant beginning to spread throughout Kansas City and Missouri. I cannot encourage non-vaccinated Kansas Citians enough, to actively seek an opportunity to do so. We must remain diligent, stay home if you're feeling sick, and continue to encourage family and friends to take the COVID-19 vaccine. We will continue our outreach work to ensure the vaccine is easily accessible for under-vaccinated populations, and to save lives through vaccination."


Protect yourself, your family, friends and community, by getting your vaccination now. Free COVID vaccinations are available on a walk-in basis during clinic hours. Or you can call 311 to schedule an appointment. The department continues to work with communities and partners to ensure equitable access to vaccine.


Kansas City Health Department

2400 Troost Ave, KCMO 64108


COVID Vaccination Clinic hours:

Monday - Friday 9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Tuesdays and Thursdays 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.


Media inquiries should be directed to Stephanie Graflage, 816-719-3610 (cell). Follow the Health Department on Twitter at twitter.com/kcmohealthdept.