Cherokee County Sheriff disagrees with KDHE on county’s vaccination rate

A Covid 19 Vaccine Shot

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ks. – Cherokee County, Kansas sticks out on the KDHE’s COVID-19 vaccination rate map with one of the lowest vaccination rates in the state.

According to the KDHE, only 36% of county residents, ages 12 and older, are fully vaccinated. That’s much lower than Cherokee’s three neighboring Kansas counties which all have vaccination rates in the 50s.

But Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves says county residents have a reason to doubt the KDHE’s Cherokee County vaccination numbers.

“We have a large population of our citizens who work particularly in the medical fields in the Joplin area, and so through their employer they’re being vaccinated there and that data is just not shared across state lines with respect to how the KDHE is capturing (vaccination rates),” said Sheriff Groves.

KOAM reached out to the Cherokee County Health Department and the KDHE for clarification but neither had representatives available. But over in Joplin, Freeman Health System’s Manager of Infection Prevention Jessica Liberty explained what Freeman does with the vaccination data they collect.

“We report within the Missouri state ShowMeVax database. That information just lives in the ShowMeVax database. It’s not something that we share with other states, and other states do not get our information as well,” said Liberty.

Sheriff Groves points to the CDC’s COVID-19 data tracker for a more accurate take on Cherokee County’s vaccination rate.