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Sedgwick County gives update on COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Published: Jan. 4, 2021 at 5:40 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - When could you get the COVID-19 vaccine? That’s a question many are wondering as the calendar flips to 2021, a year promised to bring recovery from the pandemic. Right now we know that Sedgwick County is in Phase One of its vaccine distribution plan. Many frontline workers have already received their first dose, and many are getting the second. On Monday (Jan. 4), Eyewitness News spoke with county leaders about when more people from the general public could potentially get the vaccine. The short answer: hopefully within a couple of weeks.

Sedgwick County said it hopes to be moving into Phase 2 of its vaccine distribution plan within the month. Residents and staff of the Catholic Care Center in Bel Aire are among those who follow frontline workers in the distribution plan and have already received the vaccine. Leadership with the community said it’s grateful.

Sedgwick County said it’s given 2,100 vaccines itself (from the health department). This does not include what hospitals or private pharmacy groups have given out, but reports have shown Kansas lagging behind when it comes to distributing the vaccine. Addressing that concern, Sedgwick County Deputy Manager Tim Kauffman said the delay is in the actual production of the vaccine rather than a distribution issue.

“It’s a very complicated supply-chain issue and everyone is working as fast as they can, Kaufman said.

Nursing homes should be receiving vaccines through private pharmacy partnerships like Walgreens. Catholic Care Center Executive Director Cindy LaFleur discussed what it means for the facility to be one of the first to distribute the vaccine to its residents and staff.

“Being one of the largest facilities in this area, we had really practiced a lot and gotten ready to make it efficient, and we were very, very grateful to Walgreens, first of all, to help us facilitate and partner with this process,” she said.

She said this is a bright spot after 10 difficult months.

“This is the first step of hope after almost 10 months of these residents and our staff battling this very horrific disease,” LaFleur said. “This allows us to begin to look at a glimmer of hope in 2021 to be able to see families come in and share their love with their residents.”

Sedgwick County said it hopes to be able to distribute the vaccine to more people in the spring.

“We’re getting them in, I think as fast as we can schedule it,” Kaufman said. “Every does that we have available to use, we have a plan to dispense it.”

The county said once the vaccine is made available to the general public, it will be working with local businesses and doctor’s offices so you’ll likely need to make an appointment with your doctor to get the vaccine when it’s available for you. On Wednesday (Jan. 6), there will be a Sedgwick County virtual town hall meeting in which you’ll be able to have your questions answered about the vaccine.

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