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COVID-19 vaccine rollout to continue in weeks, months ahead

Published: Dec. 14, 2020 at 3:22 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Doctors and nurses at Wichita’s Via Christi Ascension health care system’s on Monday (Dec. 14) received shots at Via Christi’s St. Francis hospital. Kansas received about 23,750 doses in the initial shipment from Pfizer, the start of a vaccine rollout that will continue in the weeks and months ahead.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is going to be distributed in Kansas this week as it is across the country,” said Kansas Hospital Association Senior Vice President Cindy Samuelson.

In the Kansas COVID-19 vaccination plan, frontline healthcare workers along with long-term care residents and staff are in Phase One, in line to get vaccinated first.

“Consistent with CDC guidance, healthcare personnel that are exposed to patients with COVID or treating patients on the frontlines will the first ones to receive the vaccine,” Samuelson further explained.

Samuelson said Kansas hospitals have been working with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) to help determine who will get those initial, limited number of doses.

“Identity hospital and healthcare workers who will need the vaccine early as well as overtime, how many will need the vaccine to be able to make sure our healthcare community is vaccinated and best able to care for Kansans,” she said.

As the vaccination starts, hospitals will be administering the vaccine in waves since there can be mild side effects that could lead healthcare workers to need to take time off.

“The individual (people) coming in to get healthcare is not impacted in any way by healthcare personnel getting COVID-19 vaccinations,” Samuelson explained.

Even as the vaccination process begins, it will likely be spring before the COVID-19 vaccine is available to the public at large.

“Social distance is still going to be important during this period of time. Hand-hygiene wearing a mask and avoiding large groups.”

Eyewitness News also spoke with Wichita’s Wesley Medical Center. The hospital expects the vaccine to arrive Tuesday (Dec. 15) for its healthcare workers. The state of Kansas is also expecting 150,000 doses to arrive by the end of this month (and year). It’s important to note that the Pfizer vaccine does require a second dose in order to be the most effective. That dose should come about 30 days after the first dose.

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