Johnson County releases plan for next vaccination phase, and where shots could be available

Tracking Coronavirus

THORNTON, CO – MARCH 06: Used vials of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, the newest vaccine approved by the U.S. FDA for emergency use, sit in a box at an event put on by the Thornton Fire Department on March 6, 2021 in Thornton, Colorado. Colorado entered COVID-19 vaccination Phase 1B.3 on Friday, allowing essential grocery and agriculture workers, people over the age of 60 and people with two or more high-risk conditions to receive a vaccine. (Photo by Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images)

OLATHE, Kan. — Johnson County is gearing up to vaccinate thousands of younger children as soon as the FDA gives Pfizer Emergency Use Authorization. At the same time, the health department released new information about how it will shift to its next phase and vaccinate adults who haven’t received a shot.

The health department said Wednesday morning it is working on plans to get shots into the arms of people who haven’t gone to a clinic or a pharmacy for a vaccine.

“After the initial high demand, after that’s done, our tactic would be for smaller community trainings,” said Dr. Sanmi Areola, director of the Johnson County Health Department. “We’re reaching out to people and there are different groups of people.”

The health department is working with religious organizations and churches on the possibility that they could offer COVID-19 vaccines at Sunday services or other events this spring and summer.

The department also hopes to offer vaccinations at farmers markets and food pantries. They say it would be easy for people to get vaccinated while already running a weekly errand.

They’ve contacted schools and colleges, hoping to partner and host community vaccination events, and say they are looking at other creative ways to make it easy for people to get a shot.

Leaders say they are looking to vaccinate everyone, but especially 20- to 30-year-olds. According to data from the Johnson County Health Department, that’s the age group with the lowest rate of vaccination.

“I think a lot of these individuals would be willing to get the vaccine, but they’re not necessarily going to seek out coming to our vaccine clinic or even maybe getting it at a pharmacy,” Elizabeth Holzschuh, epidemiologist for Johnson County, said. “We want to find places where they are.”

The health department asks business owners and organizers of large events in the county, who are open to welcoming vaccinators, to fill out a vaccination event request form on the county’s website. The health department will then work with you on logistics.

To find out more about the changing COVID-19 situation in Johnson County, view the health department’s COVID-19 dashboard.

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