Douglas County pulls plug on mass vaccination site after reaching majority of people willing to get COVID-19 vaccine

Tracking Coronavirus

LAWRENCE, Kan. — The Lawrence/Douglas County Health Department believes it has reached the majority of people who were ready and willing to get the COVID-19 vaccine, which is about 50% of the county’s eligible population.

It held its last mass vaccination event Wednesday and will change its vaccination strategy going forward.

“I have mixed emotions about today,” said volunteer Colleen Janssen. “I was excited to be here for the last one because I felt like as far as a mass number, we’ve got there. We did it.”

About 57,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine has been given to residents of Lawrence and Douglas County through the 26 mass vaccination clinics held at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.

Janssen is new to the area and has volunteered at 21 of them.

“I came to the very first clinic and got my shot and I told my husband, ‘You know what? I was so fortunate to get my shot first, I’m going to give the rest of my time to these clinics if I can,'” Janssen said.

Janssen has volunteered more times than anyone, to help people like Steven Huffman get back to what they love.

“Visiting our granddaughters,” Huffman said.

There were 2,204 appointments scheduled for the final mass vaccination clinic in Douglas County and the rain did not deterring folks like Albert Nobel who was getting his second shot.

“I’ve got too many friends that have gone to glory from this and I decided I’m going to do my part so I can live a little bit longer,”

Lawrence Douglas County Health Director Dan Partridge has seen a dramatic reduction in COVID-19 cases and deaths since the mass vaccination clinic started three months ago.

After the last car drives through and the last shot is administered he says closing up shop will be bittersweet.

“I will miss it because I will miss feeling like we’re making progress and we’re helping people get back to normal,” Partridge said.

A smaller drive-through clinic will continue taking place at LMH Health as the Health Department shifts its focus to outreach in the community. It will pivot to target venues and messaging that will attract 18-40 year olds.

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