TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansas is preparing to receive vaccines as soon as mid-December.
In a Legislative Budget Committee meeting on Tuesday, Phil Griffin, deputy director for the Bureau of Disease Control and Prevention at The Kansas Department of Health, met with state leaders to discuss the vaccine distribution plan. Right now, the state expects to receive 23,750 doses of vaccines from Pfizer. The FDA is set to make moves to approve the vaccine by December 10.
“I’m just looking forward to it in any shape or form that we can get relief to the healthcare workers, the fire folks, EMS, first responders,” said El Dorado State Representative Will Carpenter. “I just think it’s going to be a game-changer for what we’ve been through in the last year.”
State health officials said, once the vaccine is approved by the FDA, the state could receive the vaccine between December 13th and 15th.
The CDC voted Tuesday evening healthcare workers and nursing homes should be among the first to get the vaccine.
The state’s current distribution order lists the different groups given priority to receive the vaccine as follows:
- First, to healthcare workers in emergency rooms and intensive care units
- Pharmacists and prison workers
- Then, firefighters and EMS workers
- Next, long term care facility residents, local health department staff, and police officers
- Then, anyone else at risk of getting sick or dying from Coronavirus
The state expects to give shots to essential workers in the spring. Who makes up that group hasn’t been decided. The general public could have to wait to get the shot until the summer.
Griffin said the state is also preparing to meet the presumed storage limitations of Pfizer’s vaccine, which requires temperatures below -70 degrees Celsius.
“We have the designated five ultra-cold storage sites in the state,” Griffin said. “They will not be able to administer vaccines out of those sites until recommendations have been released.”
State health officials said the initial amount of the two-dose vaccine may not meet demand, with the projected group of healthcare workers in Phase 1 of distribution to consist of about 35,000 to 40,000 people.
But, according to data acquired from Pfizer, state health officials said they may have enough to fill the percentage projected to accept the vaccine, or who will want to be vaccinated.
“Roughly 45% of people right now are willing to receive the vaccine,” Griffin said, as he detailed Pfizer’s study. “Twenty percent have said absolutely, they will not receive the vaccine, and there’s about 35% kind of on the fence.”
The FDA is set to make moves on approving the second leading vaccine by biotechnology company, Moderna, on December 17th.