Labette, Cherokee County receive coronavirus vaccines

Vaccines had been in Crawford County.
Labette County Sheriffs Office

LABETTE/CHEROKEE COUNTY, Kan. – Labette County Sheriff Darren Eichinger says now that vaccines are at the sheriff’s office, it will be a good thing for everyone.

“Deputies are out here working that don’t know who has it and has come into contact with people. I think it’s help both sides,” says Eichinger.

Staff at the sheriff’s office have started getting their first doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine.

So far 16 people – around half of the departments’ staff – have taken the first dose.

Many of them are jail staff – something that Eichinger says he wanted to prioritize since the jail has been dealing with a surge in COVID cases.

Overall, they’ve seen 41 positives — 36 inmates and five staff members.

All but five of the positive cases have recovered and there have been no deaths tied to the virus, but the jail can’t currently take any new inmates.

“I think that will help on our side as far as people being off work for ten days, keeping our numbers up with the jail staff,” says Eichinger.

Cherokee County has also received their allocation of vaccines, with staff at the sheriff’s office getting access later this week.

“65 residents who are in the healthcare profession, either medical provider, pharmacist, ambulance, emergency medical personnel. So those have been administered as of this point,” explains Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves.

At the end of December, the vaccines for both counties were stuck in Crawford County.

At that point, Groves told us that they were supposed to be sent directly to CHC/SEK in Baxter Springs – but the state had them sent to the health department in Pittburg instead.

So both counties had to submit paperwork to the state to get the vaccines where they needed to go.

(Read more about that here:

“I don’t remember what day we did the interview, but it was within a couple… maybe the next day or the day after that. So relatively quickly,” sys Groves.

He explains that doses for both counties will continue to go through Crawford County since the state has established the department as a distribution hub.

But no matter how they come – both sheriffs are glad to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

“I hope it’s a light at the end of the tunnel… where we can see our way through this pandemic to where it’s not at least spread as easily and to as many people. You know, that’s certainly had an impact on a lot of families, a lot of businesses,” says Groves. “The sooner we can get to the next phase of mitigating some of that hardship the better.”

The state of Kansas is still in the first phase of its distribution plan.

State officials expect vaccines to be available to the general public in the spring, with availability becoming wide spread in the summer.


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