HAYS, Kan. (KSNW) – Many healthcare officials urge that getting the vaccine is the next step in the fight against COVID-19. As many people sign up and wait for their turn to get the shot, one community has made it their mission to make sure everyone has the same opportunity.
Many health departments across the state have moved vaccine registrations online. But what happens when you don’t have the resources to register or have a question about the forms? Well, a Library in Hays has volunteered its services to make sure the process runs smoothly.
“We have a lot of people who don’t have that access to digital devices and the internet. So, it’s a really good partnership for this kind of program because we do reach those people that need help,” said Hays Public Library Communications Coordinator, Callie Kolacny.
Providing free Wi-Fi, computers, and staff to answer questions, the library is working to fill every need. “We can also fill it [registration form] out for them. So, they can call us at the library, and we’ll fill it out for them and submit it so they don’t even have to get out, especially in this really bitter cold weather,” said Kolacny.
For those who are homebound and want to fill out the form themselves, they can sign up for the library’s contactless delivery.
Once the order is ready, the library will bring either a printed form or a tablet, depending on the person’s preference, to their doorstep. “We really want to reach out and do anything we can to support the community,” said Kolacny.
With more than 6,000 pre-registered people, the health department says the library has been instrumental in helping to further build those registration numbers.
“Hays Public Library has opened that vehicle to get to the internet, to get to that sign-up, to just allow another tactile person, someone they can call, they can talk to, they can get that help from,” said Ellis County Health Services Director, Jason Kennedy. “It’s great. Any way we can get that word out there and get people registered is important.”
Library officials say so far, the effort has been a growing success. “The very first day we offered it, I think we had five people that day, and we’ve had several more since then that have reached out and needed us to help them in some way,” said Kolacny.
Library officials say their work has been primarily beneficial for the older generations that may not be as familiar with the technology needed to fill out the forms.
Thus far in Ellis County, around 1,700 hundred vaccines have been administered at the county’s mass vaccination clinic. Kennedy says the vaccine process has been going smoothly and the community collaboration behind the initiative has been a driving force in the fight against COVID-19.
“It truly is a community partnership. A community coalition. We have members from all over the community. We have First Care Clinic, we have HaysMed represented, we have Fort Hays State nursing program, we have NCK Tech nursing program, we have Nex-Tech that’s provided wireless. We just have so many people in this community that have stepped up and provided to make this happen. Hays Public Library is one more of those partners we were able to bring into the fold,” said Kennedy. “As we look at something like this, no one person, no one group can truly create an atmosphere like this. It really does take that community partnership.”
To access the Ellis County Health Department’s vaccine registration form, click here.