More Kansas City area clinics taking ‘micro’ approach to COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Tracking Coronavirus

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With many appointments going unfilled at large COVID-19 vaccination sites, there’s a new solution some organizations are using to make sure people get the shot.

The practice is known as “micro” vaccinating. Instead of focusing on vaccinating the community at large all at one time, clinics, pharmacies and other organizations concentrate on one spot, typically places of employment.

Organizers said there are multiple barriers that keep people from getting vaccinations, including a lack of time, fear of going to the doctor or a language barrier. Leaders said working on a smaller scale can help get more people vaccinated.

Keyona Turner-Lee, a nurse at First Point Urgent Care in Kansas City, said there has been a significant decrease in the amount of vaccination appointments filled each week.

“It was really good at first. We had a bunch of people coming in,” she said. “Now, it’s kind of slowed down. I get the question, do the COVID people come in, or is it clean?”

She said that’s only one concern, leading to empty seats during vaccination clinics at the center.

That’s when the clinic came up with a plan. Instead of coming into the clinic to get the shot, the clinic would go to places of business and vaccinate people during their workday.

“If you’re going somewhere that you go every day and you’re getting the vaccine, if you feel more comfortable, I think [more] people would want to get it,” Turner-Lee said.

Ernie Rupp with Stark Pharmacy is also using the micro approach. He said it all started when they noticed an alarming trend on a waiting list of 5,000 people.

“We worked that down and found out we are halfway through it, and we’ve given very few shots off the list,” he said.

Rupp heard feedback from many patients that if the shot didn’t come to them, they wouldn’t get it at all.

“It saves them a ton of time and all of the effort of going online and booking a shot,” he said. “I think we are filling in the cracks from the mass vaccinations.”

Turner-Lee said organizing with local businesses to get their employees vaccinated, even while on a smaller scale, can help more people get the shot.

“We are trying to get to that 70% so we can get rid of the face mask and try to get back to normal life,” she said.

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