TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Governor Laura Kelly held a press conference from Topeka Thursday afternoon where she gave an update regarding Kansas’s current phase within her administration’s COVID-19 vaccination framework, and other virus information for the state of Kansas.
With this newest move, all those aged 65+, those who are in qualified/eligible congregate settings, and all high-contact critical workers will now be prioritized for vaccination, in addition to anyone from phase 1 who has not yet been vaccinated.
In her briefing, the governor provided the latest COVID-19 numbers in Kansas, including 3,590 new positive cases and 50 deaths since Monday. There have been 263,412 infections, 7,930 hospitalizations, and 3,575 deaths in Kansas since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
The governor asked all Kansans to continue wearing face coverings, maintain physical distancing, avoid large gatherings, and get vaccinated.
Approximately 1 million Kansans are in phase 2 but the next weekly supply of vaccine from the federal government contains approximately 45,000 new first doses, so not everyone in phase 2 will be able to receive their vaccine immediately. Each county, through local health departments, will decide how their limited supply of the doses will be allocated by population groups.
“Today I’m pleased to announce that our state is moving into phase 2 of the vaccine distribution plan, as we move into the second phase, I want to reiterate that these priority groups were created with input from our local and federal partners and health expert — the phases are flexible strategic and were crafted to protect as many Kansans as possible as quickly as possible,” Governor Kelly stated.
To drive transparency, a vaccine dashboard is available that includes key metrics that will be updated three times a week. In addition to the dashboard, in the coming weeks, the State of Kansas will launch a “Find my Vaccine” mapping tool, so Kansans can locate sites that are offering vaccine administration in their communities.
Governor Kelly and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment asked for Kansans’ patience while federal supply remains low and for those in prioritized populations to contact their local health departments to learn more about when they will begin to inoculate phase 2 populations and how they will prioritize within that group or anyone remaining in phase 1 who has not received the vaccine.
“I would like to remind everyone that the rate of vaccinations will be dependent upon the number of doses we receive from the federal government, as we enter this new phase of distribution my administration will also enter a new era in our COVID-19 response and vaccine plan,” Governor Kelly said. “I understand that Kansans still have questions about the vaccination delivery and where they fit into these priority categories — know that we are laser-focused on answering these questions, making delivery quick and efficient, and ensuring thorough communication and response systems with our local health departments, hospitals, and vaccine providers,” she said.
To assist vaccine distribution efforts, Governor Kelly announced on Wednesday the appointment of Marci Nielsen, PhD, MPH to Chief Advisor for COVID-19 Coordination and Seth Konkel to the role of Special Advisor for COVID-19 Vaccination.
Phase 2 Guidelines:
- Persons aged 65 and older
- High-contact critical workers necessary to maintain systems, assets, and activities that are vital to the state security, the economy or public health, or who interact with large numbers of contacts and job-related COVID-19 exposure. COVID-19 risk is associated with the likelihood of infecting oneself or spreading the virus. Factors that increase risk include proximity, type of contact, duration of contacts and challenges to implement protective measures. This includes:
o Firefighters, police officers, first responders, and correction officers
o Grocery store workers and food services
o K-12 and childcare workers, including teachers, custodians, drivers, &
o Food processing, including meat processing plants
o Large-scale aviation manufacturing plants
o Transportation workers
o Workers in retail, agriculture, supply of critical services or materials for COVID-19 response, the U.S. Postal Service, and Department of motor vehicles
- Those living or working in licensed congregate settings and other special care or congregate environments where social distancing is not possible, including:
o Homeless shelters
o Congregate childcare institutions
o Emergency shelters or safe houses
o Corrections facilities
o Behavioral health institutions
As of Wednesday, Kansas has reported 202,225 vaccine doses as distributed, 129,349 of those doses have been recorded as administered, 111,632 first doses, and 17,712 second doses. A total of 111,905 Kansans or 3.8% of the Kansas population has been reported as vaccinated.
To view a visual representation of the distribution order, click here.
To view informational slides about the vaccine distribution, click here.