When the most vulnerable populations will have access to coronavirus vaccines

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CRAWFORD COUNTY, Kan. – Coronavirus vaccines have arrived in Crawford County, and they’re already being put to use.

“It’s exciting. It’s a great Christmas present,” says Crawford County Health Department Director Janis Goedeke.

The Crawford County Health Department received 200 doses of the Moderna vaccine, and is using them to vaccinate EMS personnel and health department staff, in line with the state’s vaccination plan.

Learn more about the state’s plan here: https://www.koamnewsnow.com/mo-kan-and-okla-draft-plans-to-roll-out-covid-19-vaccine-to-residents/

But, when will residents over 65 who don’t live in a long-term care facility and residents who have pre-existing medical conditions have access to the vaccine?

“Late winter they should be able to expect to receive a vaccine,” explains Goedeke.

Goedeke explains that how that happens will depend largely on how many vaccines the county health department receives.

If they get a large quantity, they want to hold curb-side and drive-thru vaccine clinics, where they can vaccinate several people without having to make appointments. But if the number of vaccines is low and supply is still limited, then they will do it at the health department by appointment.

“We’ll use all media components, you know, newspaper, TV, social media to let everybody know,” says Goedeke. “We do want to get this out as soon as we can and just the moment that we receive enough vaccines for the public we will be letting them know.”

Oklahoma

In Northeast Oklahoma, that process is more than likely three weeks out, officials explain.

In Oklahoma, residents 65 and older and residents of any age who have comorbidities fall into phase two of the state’s plan, preceded by forward-facing healthcare workers and long-term care residents and staff in phase one, as well as first-responders and healthcare workers providing direct outpatient care.

James Thompson, regional director of District 4 of the Oklahoma State Department of Health, explains the background work has just started at a local level.

“We’ve started working with some of the emergency managers to identify some facilities where we can do mass distribution,” explains Thompson.

Thompson says they hope to identify sites within every community in the state where mass vaccinations can occur. He also explains that hospitals and other healthcare providers that have signed up to be pandemic providers should be doing vaccinations by that point as well. Appointments will be required to get a vaccine in either case.

Once the plan is more set in stone, Thompson says they will be using social media, a new marketing company OSDH has contracted, and local news to make residents aware of the plans.

“You know, I would encourage those who aren’t already to follow their local county health department on Facebook,” says Thompson. “That would be a great place to gather that information.”

Missouri

According to Lisa Cox, communications director for Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the process for vaccinating those residents is currently under development.

“The vaccine supply in Missouri is still very limited, and we will be working to get Phase 1A individuals vaccinated for several weeks. In the meantime, we’ll be building out our website more at www.mostopscovid.com to make it clear for 1B populations to learn how, when and where they can get vaccinated when that time comes.”