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Kansas nursing home residents begin getting vaccinated for COVID-19

Published: Dec. 29, 2020 at 7:34 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Photos from Topeka show smiling faces on some of Kansas’ first nursing home residents to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Tuesday, Eyewitness News found that in the next few days, the vaccine will be available to some nursing homes in Wichita.

On Tuesday in Topeka, Midwest Health, Inc. vaccinated more than 125 nursing home residents. The facility reported that 96 percent of residents wanted the vaccine.

“We’re seeing residents say, ‘we have to do this. We have to take care of our health. This is something we feel really compelled to do’” said Ali Ellis with Midwest Health, Inc. “Of course, seniors understand they are more at risk.”

Midwest Health, Inc. said vaccinations in Wichita will start in late January at Homestead Health of Wichita and January 14 for Homestead Health of Derby. The Catholic Care Center in Bel Aire is set up for vaccinations on Saturday, (Jan. 2).

Nursing homes and staff are included in Phase One of the state’s vaccine distribution plan. The state expects more than 30,000 vaccines will go directly to nursing homes by the end of the week. The Catholic Care Center set the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine for late January but said it will take some time to ease visitor restrictions.

“Mid-January, we’re not going to throw our masks off and be free to do whatever we want, but I think it offers some element of protection, and hopefully will allow us to loosen some of those restrictions and let loved ones see their loved ones in some form,” said Dr. John Womack. “We’re still going to have some restrictions on visitations, probably for several months.”

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