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Governor Kelly shares COVID-19 updates and announces vaccine distribution plan

Coronavirus in Kansas

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Governor Laura Kelly held a press conference from the Topeka Statehouse Wednesday afternoon regarding COVID-19 updates and the vaccine distribution plan for the state of Kansas.

Governor Kelly started her briefing by thanking and acknowledging healthcare and frontline workers across the state. Including recognizing Dr. Jennifer McKinney, Wilson County Health Officer, for her dedication toward serving her community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In her briefing, the governor provided the latest COVID-19 numbers in Kansas, including 4,615 new positive cases and 119 deaths since Monday. There have been 106,261 infections, 5,290 hospitalizations, and 1,583 deaths in Kansas since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.

The governor asked all Kansans to remain vigilant, continue wearing face coverings, maintain physical distancing, avoid large gatherings, and practice proper hygiene.

Governor Kelly said this week’s briefing was the first of what will be a weekly update on her administration’s vaccine distribution plan. She said she will also be sharing vaccine information during her biweekly local stakeholder call with county, city, and business leaders as well as legislators and educators.

The governor stressed that we are still in the very early stages of vaccine production and deployment and that the anticipation was for information and guidelines to be amended and evolve rapidly.

“Since the start of the pandemic, I vowed that I would be straightforward and honest with the people of Kansas and that my administration would follow the guidelines of our scientists and public health experts,” Governor Kelly said. “I understand the significance of what a widespread vaccination program will do for our health our economy and our schools and I remain committed to transparency throughout the process,” she said.

Governor Kelly said COVID-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna could be authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration as soon as December 10 and December 14 respectively. A third company, AstraZeneca, also has a vaccine in clinical trials, but no date for an emergency use authorization has been set yet.

Kansas is estimated to receive 24,000 doses in the first shipment of the vaccine which will come from Pfizer and could arrive as soon as mid-December. The first shipment from Moderna will arrive shortly thereafter, and shipments from both companies will continue arriving on a weekly basis resulting in approximately 150,000 doses by the end of December.

“My administration’s vaccine distribution framework is in line with CDC’s advisory committee on immunization practices recommendations,” Governor Kelly stated. “The vaccine will be made available based on principles of maximizing the benefit, minimizing harm, and striving for equity, justice, and fairness.”

The distribution order will begin with high-risk health care workers and nursing facility residents, who would comprise the Phase One groups. Phase Two will be those not high risk who are 65 years of age or older, and Phase Three is the non-high-risk under 65 years of age.

“We’ve created a timeline for vaccine distribution, obviously adherence to our timeline will be dependent on receiving the materials from the companies,” the governor said. “We’ll work to ensure that as many Phase One groups as possible are vaccinated by the end of the month — Phase Two and Three will be administered the vaccine on a rolling basis between winter and late spring,” she said.

For the latest updates on COVID-19 cases in Kansas, click here

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