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Kansas puts vaccine priority on grocery, meatpacking workers

Coronavirus in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Gov. Laura Kelly said Friday that Kansas considers meatpacking plant workers and grocery store employees essential workers, putting them just behind health care workers and nursing home residents for coronavirus vaccines.

The state plans to roll out five different phases for vaccine distribution, but Kelly said all the details are not set in stone just yet.

The Democratic governor also said that members of the Republican-controlled Legislature won’t get any special treatment. Kelly said Kansas’ vaccine plan calls for the first shots to go to front-line health care workers with a high risk of coronavirus exposure, including workers in nursing homes, as well as nursing home residents.

She said the second phase will focus on vaccinating essential workers, including first responders but also grocery store and meatpacking plant workers.

The last group to receive the vaccine will be healthy Kansans under 65.

Governor Kelly said about 150,000 Kansans will receive the first dose of the vaccine by the end of the month.

Those who receive the vaccine will be sent a text message on their cell phone when it is time for the second dose.

While the vaccine will be free to everyone, providers will be allowed to charge an administration fee. Governor Kelly said no Kansan will be turned away regardless of their ability to pay that fee.

The first vaccine shipment is expected to arrive in Kansas on December 10. More shipments will follow in the coming weeks.

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