Vaccine

Miami County has entered the final phase (Phase 5) of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination prioritization plan.

Gov. Laura Kelly announced Friday, March 26, the state of Kansas will make the COVID-19 vaccine available to all Kansans ages 16 and older as it enters Phase 5 of the vaccine roll out Monday, March 29.

“We plan to move along to Phase 5, as well,” Miami County Nurse Epidemiologist Christena Beer said Friday. “We are still working through Phases 1-4 at this time and will plan to start scheduling anyone 18 and over for the vaccine, starting Monday.”

The governor’s plan to make the vaccine available to Kansans ages 16 and older is going to be a challenge in some locations at present.

Beer said the Miami County Health Department is currently receiving the Moderna and the Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccines. Those two vaccines were granted Emergency Use Authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in adults ages 18 and older, she said.

Pfizer’s vaccine is approved by FDA for use in people 16 years and older, but thus far that vaccine has not been allocated to the local health department.

Across the state, county health departments and providers have started reporting a decline in demand despite the state recently opening to Phases 3 and 4 populations, according to the governor’s office. To ensure no vaccine goes to waste, the Kelly administration said it decided to expand eligibility by entering Phase 5.

“With the anticipated increase in supply from the federal government, we must get every dose of vaccine into arms quickly,” Kelly said Friday. “I strongly encourage every Kansan to get the COVID-19 vaccine so we can get back to school, back to work, and back to normal.”

Kansas will become the eighth state to make the vaccine available to all adults, joining Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Utah, and West Virginia, according to the governor’s office.

As of Friday, 35.1 percent of the adult population in Kansas had received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to a news release from the governor’s office.

In the early part of the vaccination program, from December 2020 through this February, limited federal supply led to demand for vaccine consistently exceeding supply, according to the Kelly administration.

The supply increases of recent weeks have reversed this situation, according to the governor’s office.

News Editor Doug Carder can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or doug.carder@miconews.com.

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