LAWRENCE, Kan. — For the first time since the COVID-19 vaccine rolled out, supply of the vaccine in parts of Kansas has surpassed demand.
The process of scheduling appointments is also at a tipping point with same-day scheduling becoming a reality in some spots.
At the Douglas County Fairgrounds on Wednesday, the Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health Department saw this situation in action. Basically, at their vaccination events, they have their supply of vaccines incoming and outgoing.
Typically, their weekly appointments would claim their entire allotment. But on Wednesday, with 4,100 doses available, they ended up needing only 2,900 doses out of cold storage because the maximum amount of people did not sign up for appointments.
George Diepenbrock, spokesman for the health department, said that since late January they have administered about 30,000 first vaccine doses at the Douglas County Fairgrounds (and slightly fewer second doses).
But Wednesday’s appointments represented change.
“We’re doing about 1,000 less than we had initially planned today, and so that’s obviously affected how much vaccine we’ve brought out,” Diepenbrock said.
“Part of it was people probably just weren’t used to it. They were so used to the old way with, you know, you have to be in the phase, and you get contacted days ahead. They weren’t used to last minute,” Diepenbrock said.
There are also discussions happening about targeting different demographics but focusing on how scheduling may be made less of a hurdle. Traveling walk-in clinics may target people who are non-committal.
Also announced on Wednesday, the University of Kansas Health System has 8,000 appointments to fill. You do not have to be a patient to schedule an appointment. You just have to live in Kansas (there are no county restrictions) or work in Johnson County, Kansas.