Workers in childcare, aerospace supply chain among next in line for COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Mar. 8, 2021 at 6:13 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Sedgwick County leaders on Monday afternoon announced that the county soon will be opening up COVID-19 vaccine appointments to more groups of people. Right now those who can make an appointment include people 65 and older, teachers and healthcare workers.

By Wednesday (March 10), that will open up to public safety officers including 911 dispatchers, court officers, the FBI, or anyone else with public safety affiliation. Also included are all licensed childcare and daycare providers, meatpacking workers and all aerospace supply chain workers. The county said it is working with Textron and Spirit AeroSystems to have some onsite vaccination clinics, but if you are an aerospace worker, you should be able to sign up for an appointment by Wednesday.

“The goal is to make sure all of the appointments stay full,” Sedgwick County Manager Tom Stolz said. “We have good volunteers and good staff down there. We want to make sure we continue to clip along with the maximum amount of vaccinations possible.”

Despite a push from Sedgwick County leaders, those with underlying medical conditions will have to continue waiting before they are eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. Eyewitness News spoke with a state health official who said despite a push from some counties, people younger than 65 with underlying conditions are still considered part of Phase 3 in Kansas’ COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan. This is a state-level decision.

Last week, Chief Advisor for COVID-19 Coordination in Kansas, Dr. Marci Nielsen said the state continues to look at the medical evidence and prioritizing people for the vaccine based on population and health risk.

“We are very sympathetic and the best thing we can do is get more vaccine coming into our state,” Dr. Nielsen said. “Again, as the state agency, it’s important for us to look at all of the folks who need to be vaccinated. Critical workers, firefighters, policemen, meatpackers, those are all folks that are also in Phase 2.”

In Sedgwick County, while leaders are encouraged by more vaccinators giving shots at sites beyond those operated by the county health department, the issue is that there is no central reporting of county-specific data. U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan. addressed the problem when he visited the county’s vaccine sit at the old Central Library in downtown Wichita.

“The VA, the federally-insured clinics, pharmacy, the list of entities that are vaccinating is sufficient. There’s no central collection of that data that gives us the smarts of knowing what to do next,” Moran said.

He said this is something he wants to see improved.

“Statistics matter and it’s always embarrassing to me when Kansas is at the bottom of the list that says people are not getting the vaccine,” Moran said.

His primary message during Monday’s visit to Wichita is that when the shot is eligible, get it.

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