Health professionals explain process for rolling out COVID-19 vaccine in Kansas

Published: Dec. 10, 2020 at 5:23 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - With the hope of a COVID-19 vaccine finally becoming a reality soon in Wichita, Eyewitness News is getting a clearer look at who will be vaccinated first and what the process is like for hospitals and nursing homes to get it.

Statewide, frontline workers and long-term care residents will get the vaccine first, but off the bat, there may not be enough vaccine for all of them. That’s why individual hospitals will choose which of their employees will get the first round of the vaccine. Many of them, like Wesley Medical Center, are working to identify which employees are directly exposed to COVID-19 the most. They’ll be a top priority.

While Wesley likely won’t activate any plans until next week when the vaccine arrives, long-term care facilities are working to get vaccines for their residents as soon as possible.

“The very first step was to get on the government portal and say ‘here’s our information, here’s our address, here’s how you contact us, and how many residents and staff we have at our facility,’” Midwest Health Inc. Marketing Director Ali Ellis said.

Midwest Health has eight long-term care facilities in the Wichita area and it’s already partnered with pharmacies like Walgreens and CVS to reserve their share of the vaccine. Now, they’re waiting for more instructions.

“They’re going to send us a date and a time for three clinics to happen at our facility,” Ellis said. “We’re going to confirm that date and time, we’ll get paperwork submitted, then they’ll show up and administer the vaccine... then come back for the second and third clinics.”

After 10 months of restricted visitation, it’s possible that long-term care facilities could soon ease those restrictions.

“We need to make sure both doses are administered,” Ellis said. “Then we need to kind of monitor for awhile to make sure it is, in fact, effective.”

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