Kansas sees vaccinations increase as Delta variant spreads


TOPEKA, Kan. — National numbers are showing more people are getting vaccinated in recent weeks. Kansas figures are also improving.

The state had days of more than 20,000 people getting their first dose of coronavirus vaccine in early spring, but that fell to 2,000 to 3,000 in June. The last few weeks have shown numbers starting to shift.

Now there are more than 4,000 people getting their first shot each day. That’s the first time the state has seen numbers like those in more than two months.

One state health leader said the Delta variant is a big reason for the change.

“I think the threat probably seems more imminent, more real, and so that’s motivating folks to go and look for that vaccine,” said Joan Duwve, deputy state health officer for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

She said people who put off the vaccine might not see it as much as an inconvenience anymore. More people are seeing the impact firsthand by people getting sick and restrictions coming back in place.

Duwve also credits the increasing numbers on outreach and getting factual information in front of people.
She also said as time goes on, worries over side effects can start to dissipate.

“There are millions of people who’ve had these vaccines, and we’re able to sift through that data and we understand a lot more about how safe they are. They’re extremely safe,” Duwve said.

She said there’s more work to do as the virus will spread at an easier pace the more unvaccinated people there are.

“We think the benefit is just clear, but not everybody is there yet, so we’ll keep answering questions and we’ll keep meeting people where they are and hopefully driving them to make the life-saving decision to get vaccinated,” Duwve said.

For first doses, data from the Centers for Disease Control shows Kansas at 53 percent of the state’s total population having received one.

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