Sedgwick County leaders address frequently-asked questions about COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Jan. 5, 2021 at 3:59 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Sedgwick County currently is working through the first phase of its vaccine distribution plan, vaccinating healthcare-associated workers at its clinical site established at INTRUST Bank Arena. Many are asking about the timing and when moves into the next phases will happen. Tuesday (Jan. 5), Eyewitness News spoke with Sedgwick County Health Director Adrienne Byrne for some clarity with the plans moving forward.

Byrne said Sedgwick County is currently in Phase 1A of the CDC and KDHE vaccine distribution plan, but the county has no authority without permission from the health agencies at the federal and state levels.

“(The) Sedgwick County Health Department does not have their own plan,” Byrne explained.d “We have to follow whatever phase that we’re in. And I have asked KDHE last week if we had additional vaccine, and (as) we’re going through all of the healthcare workers, (asked) if we could move on to the next phase and they said that we must follow CDC guidance.”

Byrne said healthcare-associated workers who need to schedule a time to get vaccinated at INTRUST Bank Arena can do so on the county’s website. Sedgwick County is also having a virtual town hall on Wednesday in which county leaders will be available to offer more information and answer further questions about the vaccine.

Some ask why healthcare workers are getting the vaccine first. Byrne said the hope is to get those in the field vaccinated so that they can continue to take care of people.

“And I know I’ve heard ‘Well, there’s plenty of young people that are in the healthcare profession,’ Byrne said. “Well if the older, more vulnerable health care workers get ill, then they rely even more on the younger(workers).”

One of the most commonly-asked questions concerning the COVID-19 vaccine is when people beyond the initial phase (healthcare workers and nursing-home residents) will be able to get vaccinated.

“We will get there,” Byrne said. “And I know it’s not going to be soon enough because CDC is saying early to mid Summer that there will be enough vaccine for anybody that wishes to have it. And as soon as we can move on, we will move on but we can’t until we’re given that green light.”

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