Kansas’s Covid-19 Vaccination Plan and When the General Public will Receive it

Sydney Slaton, Reporter

Kansas is putting its Covid-19 vaccine rollout plan in place, which has many Kansans wondering when the general public will be able to get it.

Kansas moved into phase 2 of their rollout plan as of Feb. 1, but officials are saying that it will be a while before the state to get the vaccine to the general public.

“It’s going to take time to march through these phases,” Lee Norman said in a Kansas City Star article. “Phase 2 is the biggest number of people, and we’re going to be stuck in Phase 2 vaccinating people for probably at least a couple of months.” 

While it seems like things are moving slow, 198,350 people have gotten at least their first dose in Kansas. Norman told the Kansas City Star that some places are doing better than others. 

“We already have some counties that have gone all the way through Phase 1 and all their health care workers and long-term care facilities persons and staff are vaccinated,” Norman said.

For a while, the state was focused on making sure the elderly, nurses, and other healthcare workers are as protected as possible. Junior Larissa Coughlin works at Helpers Inc., an organization that helps people with special needs, and was able to get vaccinated because of her job. 

“I count as a healthcare worker, so I was able to get the vaccine with the first round of people because that’s when healthcare workers were getting it,” Coughlin said. 

Teachers are among the next group of people receiving the vaccine. The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment began working with Children’s Mercy on Feb. 4 to start giving K-12 teachers their vaccines, special education teachers will be the first to get vaccinated. 

“These individuals have been at increased risk during this pandemic,” Epidemiologist Elizabeth Holzschuh said in a KSHB article.“both those individuals as well as those students that they work with because of an inability for individuals to be masked.”

Although scheduling a time to get the vaccine will largely be up to the schools, teachers who will be receiving the vaccine will have to set that up themselves. 

“School districts will be responsible for identifying who to vaccinate.” A KSHB article    said. “Teachers interested in receiving a vaccine are encouraged to reach out to their administration.”

Many healthcare workers, including Jennifer Slaton who is a nurse at a pediatrician’s office, were excited and relieved to find out they were able to receive the vaccine so “much faster than [they] thought.” But they are also very excited for the general public to get vaccinated as well.

“It’ll be very nice once we get the vaccine out to everybody,” Coughlin said.

According to Kansas’s rollout plan citizens, 16-64 with no high-risk factors will receive the vaccine in the final phase. Many believe that the fifth phase will take place in a few months. 

“Hopefully by summer,” Coughlin said, “it seems like as the phases go some are larger than others.”

While everyone waits for their turn to receive their first or second dose many wonder if they should be worried that Kansas will run out of vaccines.

“There’s been all this talk that they’re holding back vaccines for people’s second round or they’re running out,” Slaton said, “but they’re trying to give more people their first round.” 

However, of the 413,000 vaccines that have been delivered to Kansas, only 250,000 have been administered. Considering Kansas has only used half of its supply and a batch of vaccines takes about 2-6 weeks to manufacture, people should start worrying just yet. Late Jan. Johnson County received 6,825 doses, although no one knows when the state will get more. 

“They did have that planned out that they had a designated second round for people,” Slaton said, “even though just getting the first people vaccinated.”

Many people, like Slaton, are “ready to put this year of a pandemic behind [them],” and the vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel. It seems like everyone, including Slaton, are just “ready to not be stressed all the time,” so many people are ready to get back to normal.

“Hopefully once everybody gets the vaccine, we can get back to a somewhat normal state of life without having to worry about masks, and school, and being in groups,” Coughlin said.