KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Vaccinating millions of people will not be easy, according to local health experts, even if the metro had enough vaccine for everyone who wanted it.
Doctor Lee Norman, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and Kansas City, Mo. Mayor Quinton Lucas talked about their efforts during a call with Doctors at the University of Kansas Health System Tuesday morning.
Both men agreed a regional approach is needed to make the vaccination process a success.
“The virus doesn’t give a hoot about the state line,” Norman said. “If they employers, or hospitals in this case, have the vaccine and they’ve got employees, vaccinate them.”
Kansas City, Mo. Mayor Quinton Lucas is concerned with the way vaccines are being dispensed and the logistics of getting so many people vaccinated.
“I’m very gravely concerned with some of our rollout procedures,” Lucas said. “It is not unusual for the mayor’s office to receive calls from some entities that have received vaccines and said do you have an extra 1k people who we can vaccinate today? These have been calls that have come from hospitals, they’ve come from different community entities.”
Lucas says the metro needs to get a better handle on where the vaccine is and how many doses are available at one time. He says if that doesn’t happen, doses will end up going to waste.
“We need to do much better with what our plans are because I do have concerned when I see ‘now we have 200 extra vaccines can one of your departments come and get vaccinated today?” Lucas said. “That’s not really the way we should be doing it.”
One idea is to utilize county and city health departments, since they are already used to providing immunizations on a large scale for school children.
“We need to have more consistency in terms of what we’re doing with excess vaccine, how we make sure we’re accounting for things properly,” Lucas said. “That has to be more medical group, probably state departments of public health cooperation.”
The mayor says there needs to be a plan to make sure underserved people in Kansas City have access to the vaccine. He also said we need to make sure people with chronic illnesses and those with high-risk illnesses get the vaccine as quickly as possible.