KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Officials with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said workers are getting ready to distribute a coronavirus vaccine across the Sunflower State.
The state’s director of disease prevention said anyone who works in a hospital and may have contact with coronavirus-positive patients will be first in line.
At least two drug makers claim their coronavirus vaccines could be authorized for distribution in December if they get positive results next month from clinical trials. However, a lot will depend on how much vaccine will be made available to each state.
Drug maker Moderna claims it can have about 20 million doses available by the end of the year nationwide. It expects to produce 500 million vaccines next year. There are approximately 328 million people in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Both Moderna’s and Pfizer’s vaccines require two shots. The Pfizer vaccine also must be stored at super cold temperatures, 70 degrees below zero, so there are some logistical challenges to getting these shots out to the public.
First responders and high-risk individuals with chronic medical conditions will quickly be prioritized after hospital workers.
“We will be using as wide a range of vaccinators as possible,” Phil Griffin, KDHE’s bureau of disease and prevention director, said. “Eventually by the time we get to phase 3, we will be using a lot of private and local, independent primary care physicians and things of that nature. So any place we can find a means to get a vaccine out, we will be working to get that out.”
Essential workers will be prioritized in phase two, people like grocery store employees and teachers.
The general population is expected to have access to the vaccine by the middle of next year, if all goes well.
Hospitals and health departments will be the first places to give out the shots. Eventually, all types of medical providers, including big retailers like Walgreens and CVS, will have them.
Both Kansas and Missouri have an electronic record keeping system that will keep track of who has received the vaccine, and which one, if more than one, is available. This will help ensure that people receive two correct doses and that there’s no mixing and matching between vaccines.