As Missouri reached another record for coronavirus hospitalizations, the state’s health director has told a legislative panel that he thinks that getting back to normal in Missouri will involve an effective vaccine, whose first doses might come soon.

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services Director Randall Williams told the House Special Committee on Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday that he expects Pfizer Inc.’s COVID-19 vaccine to be ready for limited distribution by mid-December.

The state health department meanwhile cited 4,256 new cases, bringing the state's total to 216,697 since the onset of the pandemic.

COVID-19 hospitalizations reached yet another high, with 2,055 statewide.