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Harvey County moves to Phase 2 of vaccinations

Chad Frey
The Kansan
Newton Fire/EMS worker Cory Lehman was among the first 30 people to receive the first round of COVID-19 vaccinations made by Moderna. The Harvey County Health Department received about 200 doses of the vaccine Dec. 21. The county is now moving to Phase 2 of the vaccination effort.

Following an announcement from Gov. Laura Kelly that the state is moving forward with its vaccination plan, the Harvey County Health Department will move into Phase 2 of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s COVID-19 Vaccination Plan.

With this move, all those aged 65-plus, those in eligible congregate settings and all high-contact critical workers will now be prioritized for vaccination, in addition to anyone from Phase 1 who has not yet been vaccinated.

The Health Department is anticipating receiving 300 initial doses of Moderna vaccine for Phase 2. Those doses will be directed toward law enforcement, other first responders and K-12 educators.

Statewide, approximately 1 million Kansans are in Phase 2. According to the governor's office, the next weekly supply of vaccine from the federal government contains approximately 45,000 new first doses, meaning not everyone in Phase 2 will be able to receive their vaccine immediately.

“The demand for vaccine continues to outpace supply. Phase 2 can eventually include thousands of people in Harvey County,” said Toby Harkins, Harvey County Health Department assistant director. “We are eager to scale up our operations with our partners as soon as more vaccine is in our hands to conduct as many vaccinations as quickly as we can.”

Each county, through local health departments, will decide how their limited supply of the doses will be allocated by population groups. Vaccination consultation with county administration for scheduling in Harvey County began Wednesday. As additional vaccine allotments are received in Harvey County, the health department, along with health care partners in our communities, will be able to increase the coverage of individuals included in Phase 2.

Those included in Phase 1 that have not yet been vaccinated remain eligible to receive a vaccination.

“After moving quickly to vaccinate close to 130,000 frontline health care workers and Kansas seniors, my administration has worked with local health departments and providers to prepare to move Kansas into Phase 2,” Kelly said. “While it’s important to remember that the rate of vaccinations will be dependent on the amount we receive from the federal government, we use every tool available to make vaccine delivery transparent, efficient and fast in order to reach as many Kansans as possible.”

State-level information about vaccinations can be found at www.kansasvaccine.gov. Local information from the Harvey County Health Department can be found at www.harveycounty.com/covid19vaccine.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE UNDER PHASE 2 GUIDELINES?

Persons aged 65 and older

High-contact critical workers necessary to maintain systems, assets and activities that are vital to the state security, the economy or public health, or who interact with large numbers of contacts and job-related COVID-19 exposure. COVID-19 risk is associated with the likelihood of infecting oneself or spreading the virus. Factors that increase risk include proximity, type of contact, duration of contacts and challenges to implement protective measures. This includes:        

• Firefighters, police officers, first responders and correction officers         

• Grocery store workers and food services          

• K-12 and child care workers, including teachers, custodians, drivers and other staff       

• Food processing, including meat processing plants          

• Large-scale aviation manufacturing plants          

• Transportation workers          

• Workers in retail, agriculture, supply of critical services or materials for COVID-19 response, the U.S. Postal Service and the Department of Motor Vehicles

Those living or working in licensed congregate settings and other special care or congregate environments where social distancing is not possible, including:

• Homeless shelters          

• Congregate child care institutions          

• Emergency shelters or safe houses          

• Corrections facilities          

• Behavioral health institutions