How SEK residents in phase 2 can get a covid-19 vaccine

Kansas moves to phase 2 of vaccine distribution.

SOUTHEAST, Kan. – The state of Kansas moved to Phase 2 of vaccine distribution on Jan. 21, 2021, making a million more Kansans eligible for vaccines.

The shift opens up eligibility to a million Kansas. Categories in phase 2 include residents 65 and older, residents who live in congregate housing like homeless shelters and correctional facilities, and high contact critical workers like first responders, K-12 and childcare workers, and grocery store employees.

A Wednesday press release from Governor Laura Kelly further breaks down who is eligible in phase 2: https://governor.kansas.gov/governor-laura-kelly-announces-kansas-moves-to-phase-2-of-covid-19-vaccine-distribution/

State officials say individual county health departments across the state will be responsible for distributing the vaccine to residents.

“We are super ready and we’re super excited,” says Wilson County Health Department Director Destiny Wheeler. “There’s some logistics to work out still. But for the most part we are just ready to get going.”

Wheeler says that she feels confident that they have been able to get to everyone that was eligible in phase 1 of the vaccine distribution plan, which included healthcare workers, residents and staff in long-term care facilities, and workers critical to pandemic response.

“We feel like we effectively, aside from some stragglers, got all of our healthcare workers and our very front line people taken care of,” explains Wheeler. “Phase 1 was largely conducted by the hospitals. They had received larger allotments of vaccine than we did, and most of the allotments to the health department went to the hospitals because in this county that was the easiest way to do it.”

Cherokee County Public Information Officer David Groves says the same for Cherokee County.

“We’re ready to move into phase two. The health department started scheduling appointments and we’ll have our first drive thru vaccination event Friday (01/22) here in Columbus,” says Groves.

In most cases, residents will need to have an appointment to receive a coronavirus vaccine.

Some counties have designated special phone numbers — so residents can call to make appointments or get on a waiting list.

  • Cherokee County 
    • Residents should call the health department at 620-429-3087 to make an appointment or be placed on the waiting list
    • They will continue to schedule for the amount of vaccine currently available
    • Discouraging people from walking into the health department to make appointments – call instead

Groves discourages residents from calling the normal health department line, even if they can’t immediately get through to the special number listed above.

“We are requesting that people wishing to make an appointment call that number. We understand that the phone lines have been busy, but right now there is a limited supply available and we’re just scheduling them as people are able to get through,” says Groves. “So we fully understand that it’s frustrating because you want to call and get it answered immediately and get it scheduled. We want that as well, but this is the process and we’re just gonna have to ask people to call and make their appointment that way.

Wheeler explains that the health department is also creating a waiting list, and plans to give residents who are the most at risk and the most exposed the highest priority..

“Call the health department. We’re gonna ask you your age and your phone number, and then when we have doses available for you, we’ll call you and schedule an appointment,” says Wheeler. “We are planning to start phase 2 vaccinations next week. So that gives us the rest of this week to plan and make appointments, and then begin vaccinations next week. Unfortunately, we don’t know exactly when or exactly how many vaccines we’ll be allotted every week. But we do plan to give all of the vaccine that’s allotted each week during that week.”

  • Crawford County
    • Currently finishing up the second doses for residents in phase 1
    • Anticipates the vaccine will arrive in Mid-February for phase 2
    • Health officials say they’ll have more information on appointments after the Jan. 22nd, 2021 meeting with county commissioners and county health officials
  • Labette County
    • Residents should call 620-778-6272 to make an appointment or be placed on the waiting list
    • Walk-ins not accepted at this time
  • Neosho County
    • Residents can call the health department at 620-431-5770 to make an appointment – they will announce when people can start calling to make appointments
    • Don’t know how many vaccines they’ll get yet, the KDHE just sends them what they send without much warning according to county health officials
  • Allen, Bourbon and Woodson Counties
    • The SEK Multi County Health Department is unsure when they’ll receive vaccines, but are planning a series of large clinics for distribution
    • There’s no waiting list at this time
    • Health department officials say there will be no signups for appointments, but plan to keep residents updated via social media, radio, newspaper and on their website

All of the health officials that we spoke to ask residents to remain patient. The number of vaccines coming into the state, and therefore into each county, is going to be much lower than the demand, and the number of appointments they can make depends entirely on their vaccine supply.

“Eventually we’ll get enough vaccine to be able to vaccinate whoever wants to be vaccinated. And we hope that that happens sooner rather than later,” says Wheeler. “But until then, we are doing our absolute best to find the most at risk and the most exposed, and get them first.”

You can learn more about vaccine distribution plans in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma here: https://www.koamnewsnow.com/news/health/coronavirus-covid-19-coverage/vaccine/