Health director: Effort to forge ahead with vaccine distribution slowed by limited supply

Published: Feb. 3, 2021 at 7:16 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - As Sedgwick County looks to forge ahead with administering doses of the COV-19 vaccine, the county, like others across the country, faces a roadblock in terms of the supply it gets. Sedgwick County Health Director Adrienne Byrne said the county hopes to soon move on to the next age group soon, giving shots to residents who are 75 and older. But when that happens is dependant on the amount of vaccine the county gets, supplied by the federal government.

Sedgwick County is receiving about 7,000 doses weekly from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment weekly. Byrne said that’s not enough to vaccinate everyone county leaders want.

“One of the things that is slowing down that movement somewhat is that we are doing the second dose for the healthcare-associated workers that were vaccinated over 28 days ago. But our primary focus is on second doses for those health care workers and our 80-and-older population,” she said.

Byrne said residents eligible to get the vaccine in Phase 2 of the distribution plan can continue signing up online or calling 669-1029 to make an appointment. If appointments are filled, she said to keep trying because there are cancelations. Byrne said about 3,000 of Sedgwick County residents who are 80 or older have received their vaccine, but in the county, that age group has about 11,000 people, so more vaccine from the federal government is needed.

Byrne said she knows it’s frustrating, but the doses the county receives are all that the federal government and the state can provide right now. And with second doses, it will be difficult to move through phases as quickly as they’d like.

“It takes time to move through each group, particularly when we open it up to the next group,” Byrne said.

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