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Senator Roy Blunt visits Columbia to talk vaccine, mental health

April 07, 2021

Senator Roy Blunt visited Columbia on Wednesday for the first time since announcing that he wouldn’t run for re-election next year.

Blunt held a roundtable discussion at the Walsworth Family Columns Club at Faurot Field with many health leaders from MU Health Care, Truman Veterans' Hospital and the Board of Curators.

Blunt discussed COVID-19 vaccines, efforts to improve mental health and his work to combat the opioid crisis.

Blunt said he hopes everyone will get a vaccine when it becomes available to them.

“I’d encourage people who haven’t gotten a vaccine to get one,” Blunt said.

Blunt said he wants people to start thinking of vaccines in a more positive light.

“Vaccines do make a difference. It makes a difference when more people participate, the more you create that community of immunity,” he said.

While Boone County ranks first in percentage of those who have initiated population in the state, other rural counties are falling behind. Blunt said informing people of the benefits of vaccines is important for rural areas.

“I think there was a hesitancy about vaccines generally that had grown, and maybe the discussion and information take a little longer to get to some of our rural communities,” he said.

In addition to discussing the COVID-19 vaccine, Blunt touched on the importance of mental health. He says mental health should be treated like any other illness.

“I think treating mental health like all other health is critically important,” he said.

UM System President Mun Choi and MU Health Care CEO Jonathan Curtright were among the participants of the panel at the roundtable discussion.

Choi said the university expects classrooms and stadiums to be back at full capacity by the fall, and that the vaccine plays a big role in that.

Blunt also visited St. Louis University on Wednesday to talk about the school’s work on the Moderna vaccine.

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