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Here's The Latest On Where And How To Get A COVID Vaccine In Kansas

Sedgwick County set up a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita in late December, as it prepared to vaccinate health care workers.
Brian Grimmett
Kansas News Service
Sedgwick County set up a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita in late December, as it prepared to vaccinate health care workers.

The process of getting in line for the COVID-19 vaccines is confusing, but there are things you can do to make sure you're in line to get your shots.

More than 110,000 Kansans have gotten at least their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and many more await the opportunity in this state of nearly 3 million people.

But when and where will their chance come?

The Kansas News Service will update this article on the vaccine rollout and availability as the situation develops. So consider bookmarking it to check back for updates.

Below, you’ll also find graphs to help you keep track of how bad COVID is in Kansas right now.

Who can get the vaccine in Kansas?

Kansas has just begun “Phase 2” of its vaccine plan.

In Phase 1, health care workers and people living or working in nursing homes were the priority.

Phase 2 includes people over the age of 65, teachers, prison inmates and many others. (In Sedgwick County, vaccines are currently only available for residents 83 years and older.)

However, supplies of the vaccine arriving in Kansas remain limited. For example, Jan. 20, the state said it would receive about 45,000 vaccines in the coming week. Those get split up among the counties.

Here are the state’s phases for rolling out the vaccine, and its ballpark timeline. Precise dates will depend on how many doses arrive each week.

The situation may vary depending on where you live. The Kansas News Service found at least one county received enough doses during Phase 1 to give some shots to the Phase 2 group.

Phases in the state's vaccine plan.
Phases in the state's vaccine plan.

How does Kansas define groups like “high-contact critical workers”?

Here are detailed explanations for some of the squishier terms used in the chart above.

Is there a sign-up sheet to get in line for Phases 2 and beyond?

Different counties are working through the process differently. Sedgwick, for example, asked people over the age of 90 to sign up first. Now it's taking people 83 and over. 

Check whether your county health department has a sign-up sheet. Here are a few examples.

  • Coffey County posted a sign-up form on its Facebook page.
  • Johnson County posted a form here.
  • Sedgwick County posted a form here.
  • Shawnee County posted a form here.
  • Wyandotte County posted a form here.

You may need to keep a keen eye on your county health department’s announcements on Facebook and other platforms. When Douglas County opened its first 500 slots for Phase 2, people grabbed up all the slots within minutes, The Lawrence Journal-World reported.

Wherewill you get the vaccine when it’s your turn?

So far county health departments and hospitals have done most of the work. Once more doses are available, a wide variety of places — such as pharmacies or doctor’s offices — will likely give the shots.

But those places don’t know when Kansas will include them. They don’t know if this will vary by county. They don’t know whether all pharmacies will receive vaccine stock, or whether only certain locations will. They are eagerly seeking information from public health officials.

The state says it is working on a website that will ultimately list which clinics, pharmacies, etc, receive doses. When that becomes available, we will link to it here.

For now, when you ask your health department, doctor’s office or pharmacy for more specifics, expect to hear the answer: “Stay tuned.”

Even health care workers, such as pharmacists, have struggled in some parts of the state to find out where and when they can get their shots.

Where can I read details about how the vaccines work, such as how much time should pass between doses?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has this FAQ on the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

Both of them are two-dose immunizations. Your pharmacy or other provider should schedule your second shot at least three weeks after the first if you receive the Pfizer version, or at least four weeks if you get Moderna.

People shouldn’t get the vaccine if they’ve had allergic reactions to vaccines in the past.

The CDC has more information on its website for people with underlying health conditions and those who are breastfeeding or pregnant.

What will the vaccine cost me? What if I don’t have health insurance?

The federal government is buying and distributing the doses. So you won’t get charged for those.

No one should charge you a fee for sticking the needle in your arm, either. Your insurance company may pay something for that, but not you. If you have no insurance, the hospital or pharmacy can bill a special federal fund earmarked for this purpose.

So you shouldn’t ever get a bill.

Here comes the caveat. Advocates and academics who study this stuff are nervously watching to see what happens. They’re concerned some hospitals or clinics will hit people with something to the effect of “facility fees.”

One way to try to avoid this could be to get the shot at a pharmacy or county health department instead of a hospital or hospital-affiliated facility, if that becomes an option for you in your area.

If you get billed for your shots, we want to hear about it. Email celia (at) kcur (dot) org.

How bad is the coronavirus in Kansas right now?

The virus remains widespread, and the hospitalization rate remains a concern. Here are the latest statistics on hospitalizations and deaths, which we update regularly.

We chose these statistics to show trends, which experts say are more reliable than focusing on day-by-day fluctuations.

The cumulative case count across Kansas

The map below shows the total number of confirmed cases in each county in Kansas, but please note that most of these people have gotten well, and their infections aren’t active.

Hover over your county to see how many cases have been reported there.

More than 260,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Kansas. The true figure is doubtlessly higher, but the state remains far from herd immunity regardless.

Studies show that even the hardest hit states in the country have not approached the natural exposure levels that might lead to herd immunity. Yet already, of Americans have died.

This is why public health experts advocate for the vaccine to get to herd immunity while stoppingthe tide of deaths.

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