Lyon County Public Health officials held their second mass vaccination event at the Bowyer Community Building, Friday afternoon, as the county officially moves into Phase 2 of the statewide COVID-19 vaccination plan.
Lyon County Public Health Administrator and Flint Hills Community Health Center CEO Renee Hively said the event was moving smoothly, with individuals getting through the lines quickly.
The only holdup is not having enough vaccine on hand to get everyone vaccinated.
“It’s been pretty seamless,” she said. “The demand is greater than our supply.”
Hively said the county receives a weekly allocation from the state, but from week to week the allocation changes.
“We’re told we’re getting weekly allocations but we don’t know how many doses we’re going to get each week,” she said. “It’s really, literally, a 24-hour planning period before we can launch and set up scheduling.”
Newman Regional Health Chief Quality Officer Cathy Pimple said Lyon County’s Phase 2 prioritizes people ages 65 and older, and then those in high-contact critical worker groups, including firefighters, police officers, first responders, and correction officers, grocery store workers and food services, K-12 and childcare workers, including teachers, custodians, drivers and other staff, food processing, including meat processing plants, large-scale aviation manufacturing plants, transportation workers, workers in retail, agriculture, supply of critical services or materials for COVID-19 response, the U.S. Postal Service, and Department of motor vehicles.
Those living environments where social distancing is not possible, including homeless shelters, congregate childcare institutions, emergency shelters or safe houses, corrections facilities and behavioral health institutions also fall into phase 2.
Hively said public health is aware of the high demand for the vaccine and the issues many people had with trying to get registered for Friday’s vaccination event. She said the group is working on other registration options to make the process more equitable — especially for the 65 and older populations.
Currently public health is not keeping a waiting list.
“We know we have a huge demand for people who want to get vaccinated,” she said. “Not everybody has access to the Internet or is computer savvy.”
Newman Regional Health Infection Preventionist Ester Knobloch said the hospital also has plans and processes in place to get people vaccinated — once the doses arrive.
“We are ready to meet that need,” she said. “The planning is done, the process is ready. … If you want to be vaccinated, you will be. … It is exciting to be to this part. It is exciting to have the hope of this pharmaceutical intervention.”
And, for those wondering about the costs associated with receiving the COVID-19 vaccinations? There’s some good news.
“There is no cost — zero out of patient responsibility for the vaccine and the administration of the vaccine,” said McKenzie Cinelli, Newman Regional Health director of business and marketing. “That is inclusive of all parties whether you have private health insurance or Medicare or uninsured, too — those who are self-pay. There is completely zero patient responsibility.”
Pimple said providers are allowed to charge insurance companies a small administration fee, so don’t worry if you are asked for your insurance card. You still won’t have any financial liability for the vaccine.
Hively and Pimple said it was important for people to remember that they should receive both doses from the same provider. KDHE has also guaranteed that second doses have been allocated for those who have received the first dose.
Lyon County’s active COVID cases have dropped to 136, Friday afternoon, after public health officials reported 26 new positives and 43 recoveries in their end of the week report.
Overall, there have been 3,753 cases reported since March including 3,549 recoveries and 68 deaths. There are five deaths pending review at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Statewide, KDHE reported an increase of 3,241 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in its first update since Wednesday, pushing the statewide total to 266,653.
KDHE officials said Friday the death total grew by 23 to 3,598 and hospitalizations increased by 111 to 8,041 since the outbreak started.