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Lack of vaccine supply frustrates some of 65-and-older population in Sedgwick County

Published: Feb. 19, 2021 at 9:27 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Many Kansas counties have started vaccinating people in the 65-and-old category within Phase 2 of the state’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan. Sedgwick County isn’t there yet because the county has only been receiving about half of the vaccine doses it should from the state, based on its population.

People in Sedgwick County who are 65 and older, but not yet eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine in the county say it’s frustrating to see their peers in other counties get the vaccine while they’re still waiting. Sedgwick County resident Joyce Hess said her life has been on hold for months and it’ll stay the wait until she can get the shot.

The Sedgwick County Health Department began scheduling appointments for residents who are 70 and older, but hasn’t yet included the full 65-and-older crowd. Hess is among those who fall into this gap of being at least 65, but not yet 70. She said her younger sister has already received the vaccine.

“She lives in Kingman County and they’re vaccinating their people,” Hess said. “Whereas we can’t get them because we’re not the right age. I’ve gone out to visit and I have to wear a mask in her house.”

Rural counties are getting more doses per capita than urban counties. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s dashboard shows that this week, all Kansas counties except for Greeley and Hamilton received at least 100 doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Based on population, 100 doses is more than some counties should get. That means less for urban counties like Sedgwick.

KDHE said this is because the Moderna vaccine only comes in shipments of 100, and to balance out the inequality moving forward, it will skip 30 counties’ shipments every other week and give those doses to counties that have been shorted.

Eyewitness News learned Friday that Sedgwick County will receive about 3,500 more doses from the state next week. That brings the total to 10,000 to 11,000 doses. It’s unclear how many doses Sedgwick County can expect in the weeks that follow.

As Sedgwick County gets more doses, it’s likely that people 65 and older will be able to get the vaccine in coming weeks. Once you’re eligible to get vaccinated, you can sign up for an appointment on Sedgwick County’s website.

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