Limited doses as Kansas moves on to vaccinate thousands who qualify in Phase 3 and 4

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OLATHE, Kan. — Kansas opens COVID-19 vaccinations up to thousands more people Monday. That’s when the state started vaccinating people who qualify for Phase 3 and Phase 4.

Dr. Samni Areola, Director of the Johnson Co. Health Department, said there are challenges with vaccine supply, but he believes health leaders in Johnson County can tackle it.

“We still don’t have enough vaccine,” Areola said. “[But] moving into Phase 3 and 4 is something that we are ready to do and comfortable doing.

County leaders are hopeful more vaccines arrive in the coming weeks. As efforts ramp up, many Kansans are still confused about where they fit in, especially when it comes to medical conditions. Areola says it’s part of an honor system.

 “We will not be checking medical records please do not bring medical records to the site,” Areola said.

Johnson County is taking steps to make sure more Kansans can get a shot. That includes working with local providers to administer the vaccine and creating a new mass vaccination site that will open in Lenexa. But Areola says the appointments tend to fill quickly.

“Last week we had thousands of appointments, all of those were filled in less than an hour,” Areola said.

By the end of May, the county hopes to have vaccines complete for 50-to–60 percent of the population, bringing those in Johnson County one step closer to a new normal, or a glimpse of what life was like before the pandemic.

“It’s a long tunnel … but we are moving through that tunnel,” Areola said.

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