Johnson County expects to finish vaccinating teachers weeks earlier than first planned

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Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly answers final questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic during a press briefing Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020 at the Statehouse in Topeka, Kan. (Evert Nelson/The Capital-Journal via AP)

OLATHE, Kan. — A push to fast-track vaccinations for teachers is helping, at least in Johnson County.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced her Back to School Vaccination Plan earlier this week. It allocates thousands of doses of the COVID-19 vaccines to teachers and licensed child care providers.

On Friday, the Johnson County Health Department said the additional doses meant it would likely have all teachers vaccinated by the end of March.

“We’re going to be able to move through that group a lot quicker than we’d originally planned,” Elizabeth Holzschuh, an epidemiologist with the county health department, said. “Originally we were thinking we wouldn’t be done immunizing all of these groups, the K-12, public schools, private schools, and child care providers until early April, but now it looks like we may be able to finish up and be wrapping up by the end of March, which is very exciting.”

The department said it also finished its second public school clinic Friday. As many as 2,300 school staff were vaccinated. It’s now working to schedule teachers at private and parochial schools. Thousands of care providers at licensed daycares will also be scheduled.

The health department has several mass clinics scheduled over the next 10 days. It plans to vaccinate nearly 3,500 teachers, staff and child care providers during those upcoming clinics.

In Wyandotte County, the health department has been prioritizing educators to get vaccinated for well over a month, so all Kansas City, Kan. teachers and staff who want it have gotten their first vaccination and will have their second doses before all students come back full time April 5.

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