Want a COVID vaccine? Metro health departments offer insight on surveys, distribution plans

Tracking Coronavirus

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Both Kansas and Missouri are working to reach more residents who want a COVID-19 vaccine.

How and when people can get it depends on whether they live in Missouri or across state line in Kansas since each state has a different distribution plan.

Some health departments are planning to re-use sites from their Phase One distribution. Others aren’t ready yet to say what locations they’ll use.

“We’ll send out an email to those people that signed up, and we’ll say, ‘Hey we have this many appointment slots,’” said Kayla Parker, Jackson County Health Department’s communication coordinator. “You can go ahead and sign up for those.”

As more COVID vaccines become available across the metro, health officials urge people to keep close tabs on their phone or email.

“So even if your granny signed up last week and mine signed up this week, they’ll get the email at the same time, and then it’s really whoever signed up for the appointment first,” Parker said.

Online surveys are the quickest way counties plan to let people know when more vaccine becomes available.

Dr. Sanmi Areola, director of Johnson County’s health department, said it’s not first come first serve, but the online survey is an advantage.

“The primary purpose of signing up this time is to aid in planning purposes and, two, for us to be able to reach out to you,” Areola said.

Johnson County will reuse sites from Phase 1 as it vaccinates people in Phase 2. Areola said the county is working to secure other spots as well.

“Our hope is that there are more providers in the county,” Areola said. “We’re in conversation with health systems in larger systems, and we expect them to play a major role as we go through this.”

In Jackson County, it’s a mystery where people in Phase 1B – Tier 2, which Missouri activated on Monday, will get the shot.

“Right now we’re not making that public knowledge just because a lot of people might try and come in before it’s their turn, and we want to make sure we can serve everyone as quickly as possible,” Parker said.

People who may not have internet access can also call many local health departments, so they can be notified as well.

The Kansas City Health Department said more 25,000 people completed the online survey, and more than 700 people without internet left them a voicemail. The department said it’s working to return those calls, but it will take time.

Additionally, the department will have a Spanish language version of the form online soon.

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