TOPEKA, Kan. – Governor Laura Kelly announced Thursday that Kansas is moving into Phase 2 of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. This means people in the general public who are 65 and older are now eligible to begin vaccinations.
Those working on vaccine distribution in Kansas say that they have been hearing complaints from people across the state that it has been a confusing process. Kelly said she is listening and has put people in place to help make the process easier.
The COVID-19 vaccination effort is the largest public health endeavor ever undertaken in the state.
Phase 2 guidelines include people 65 years and older as well as high-contact critical workers necessary to maintain systems, assets, and activities that are vital to the state security, the economy or public health, or who interact with large numbers of contacts and job-related COVID-19 exposure.
COVID-19 risk is associated with the likelihood of infecting oneself or spreading the virus. Factors that increase risk include proximity, type of contact, duration of contacts and challenges to implement protective measures.
- Firefighters, police officers, first responders, and correction officers.
- Grocery store workers and food services.
- K-12 and childcare workers, including teachers, custodians, drivers and other staff.
- Food processing, including meat processing plants.
- Large-scale aviation manufacturing plants.
- Transportation workers.
- Workers in retail, agriculture, supply of critical services or materials for COVID-19 response.
- The U.S. Postal Service, and Department of motor vehicles.
- Those living or working in licensed congregate settings and other special care or congregate environments where social distancing is not possible, including: homeless shelters, congregate childcare institutions, emergency shelters or safe houses, corrections facilities and behavioral health institutions.
“This kind of emergency really does need to be driven from the federal government down to the state governments and then working with the local governments like any other emergency of this magnitude,” Kelly said.
All roads lead back to local health departments. Kansas has set broad guidelines that allow health departments to flex, based on the make-up of its population.
The federal government allocates vaccines based on population. Kansas, being a smaller state, is dividing its vaccines among every county in the state.
Douglas County has 500 spots for this week’s vaccinations.
Miami County has four upcoming vaccination clinics scheduled to begin Jan. 27. It has 400 doses to go around.
Wyandotte County has a mass vaccination clinic set up and ready to go but does not have enough vaccinations.
“I understand that Kansans still have questions about the vaccination delivery and where they fit into these priority categories. We are focused on answering these questions,” Kelly said.
The state is setting up a website Kansans can use to find vaccination clinics based on zip code with direct resources for those locations. It is expected to be available next week.
For questions about vaccinations in your area, check with your local health department. Many have set up websites to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccination.