When it comes time to vaccinate the next group of Allen County residents for COVID-19, the Southeast Kansas Multi-County Health Departments will make a public announcement and organize a large vaccination clinic site.
Exactly when that will happen is not known, as it depends on multiple factors including the availability of vaccines from the federal government.
The health department issued an update on Monday about its COVID-19 response, and indicated the county remains in Phase 1 of the state’s vaccination plan. Only healthcare workers and those in long-term care facilities qualify.
When the county shifts to the next phase, which will allow shots for those age 65 and older, the health department will schedule a clinic site. Notices will be made to newspapers, radio, Facebook and the department’s website about the location and times for vaccination.
The departments are not scheduling appointments for the vaccinations and there is no “waiting list,” SEKMCHD’s update said.
The same protocol will be followed when other population groups are eligible for the shots.
THE Kansas Department of Health and Environment has issued a rough timeline of when to expect vaccine doses to become available based on various qualifications such as age and risk.
Phase 1 offers vaccine doses for healthcare workers, residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and workers critical to the pandemic response. It’s currently underway, and county health officers expect to complete the first round of vaccinations by the end of this month.
Phase 2 will allow vaccinations for those older than 65, those who live in congregate settings and some critical workers. It will start when everyone in Phase 1 who wants a shot has received one, which could be as early as February.
Phase 3 will vaccinate those aged 16-64 with severe medical risk and other critical workers, while Phase 4 will vaccinate those aged 16-64 with other medical risk. The rest of the population will be vaccinated after that.
The later phases likely won’t begin until spring and summer.
“Two things must happen for the phases to move forward: (1) Vaccine must be available from the federal government, and (2) the health department must receive instructions from KDHE to begin the next phase,” the update reads.
“Please be patient and wait your turn.”
THE health department has administered all of the 40 doses of the Moderna vaccine it has received. The Moderna vaccine requires a second dose for full immunity, and those second doses are expected to be available in about two weeks.
Vaccinations are voluntary, though some employers may require vaccination.
The health department does not charge a fee for the shots, though some private health clinics might charge a small administrative fee. Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas, for example, does not charge out-of-pocket costs but will collect insurance information, if available, in order to recoup administrative costs.
CURRENTLY, Allen County has 74 active COVID-19 cases.
Since the pandemic began, the county has reported 805 positive cases and 11 deaths.
The biggest spike in the county’s cases came in early- to mid-November, followed by a smaller spike in late December. All but one of the county’s deaths occurred in November and December.