Efforts continue to get minorities vaccinated in Kansas

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan (KSNW) – The push to get more Kansans vaccinated is intensifying. However, new data shows some groups of people are less likely to get the COVID-19 shot.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said 40% of the White and Asian communities in Kansas are vaccinated. Still, just 32% of the Hispanic community and 26% of the Black community have received the shot. Eleven percent of those vaccinated did not report their ethnicity.

The Wichita Black Nurses Association said they have been pushing to bridge the gap and get more minorities vaccinated. Margaret Thompson with the association said the rise of the Delta variant had pushed the group to focus on the younger generation.

“Those are the people we are looking to come and get vaccinated because that Delta virus can be protected,” said Thompson.

The Wichita Black Nurses Association is planning four more clinics in August. This time pushing for teens to get their shots. To see their list of clinics, click here.

“We need to get that herd immunity, and we are not there,” Thompson added.

Chris Steward, the deputy health director of Sedgwick County, said so far, the association’s efforts are working, but the county is seeking feedback from those just now getting their vaccine.

“It’s important to hear from them now because there might be other people in town feeling the same way, and how can we adjust outreach to make those people feel comfortable enough to come in and get a vaccine,” said Steward.

At the state level, Dr. Ximena Garcia, Gov. Laura Kelly’s senior advisor for COVID-19 equity, said that the state would be launching a Spanish language media campaign to get more Hispanics vaccinated in the next week. The state also is beginning to canvas neighborhoods before holding vaccine clinics in the area. So far, they said it is working.

“People of color were overrepresented in cases and hospitalizations and deaths, so we are not at equity until we are also over-representing those groups in vaccination,” said Dr. Garcia.

Johnson County has also shared that they will be launching a “Love your Neighbor” vaccine clinic in mid-July, with clinics in different places of worship in the area and interpreters to help everyone feel comfortable getting the vaccine.

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