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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson County legislators approved spending $5 million to extend a program that has provided vaccinations and other health services to the city’s eastside.

Some legislators are questioning how the money is being spent.

The Our Healthy KC Eastside program said it has spent $5 million to vaccinate nearly 13,000 people against COVID-19 at nearly 125 events in zip codes with some of the city’s lowest vaccination rates.

In seeking another $5 million in federal funding from Jackson County, the program director said health services will be extended to provide cancer screenings and reduce infant mortality rates in some of the most vulnerable east side neighborhoods.

“COVID-19 vaccinations are still really critical,” said Janette Berkley-Paton, program director. “As we head into winter months, COVID, flu and RSV are going to be a trifecta. COVID-19 is real. The importance of vaccinations is still critical.”

But some county legislators have questioned why so much of the first $5 million has gone toward salaries and other administrative costs.

Legislator Jeanie Lauer also questioned if the program is duplicating vaccination outreach that the county already pays University Health to provide.

“We have provided all the financial records to the county down to the penny, on all of the services provided, all of the persons hired,” Berkley-Paton explained. “We had a large team of health providers that were highly representative of different organizations, and they showed up at each of these events.”

The University of Missouri-Kansas City coordinated scheduling doctors, dentists, nurses and pharmacists to provide outreach in the Our Healthy KC Eastside program.

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