Though everyone in Kansas above the age of 16 will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine starting Monday, it will take a bit longer for those in Douglas County to get shots in their arms.
After Gov. Laura Kelly announced Friday morning that the state was opening its vaccine eligibility into the fifth and final phase on Monday, county leaders Friday afternoon said it would take at least until the week of April 12 to finish the Phase 3/4 combination that just began this week — and that those folks would continue to be prioritized until the stage is more complete.
George Diepenbrock, spokesperson for Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, told The Lawrence Times that no doses for people in Phase 5 would be allocated until that time — at least as far as the county is concerned.
“We will reevaluate for the week of April 12 whether we will start to allocate doses for Phase 5,” he said via email. “Right now our allocations for appointments at the clinics the next two weeks at the fairgrounds will be for people in Phases 1-4.”
It’s unclear whether Douglas County pharmacies can open their allocations to those in Phase 5, or whether they will follow a similar pattern as county officials.
The county’s vaccine interest form, which it’s using to schedule vaccine appointments at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, currently includes about 2,331 people who have identified in Phase 2 and more than 11,000 people still eligible in Phase 3/4. The combined phase includes people between ages 16 and 64 who have a preexisting medical condition and other non-healthcare workers in critical infrastructure.
“People with medical conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to complications and death due to COVID-19 have been patiently waiting for their turn to get vaccinated, and we want the opportunity to make progress with this group of individuals,” Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health Director Dan Partridge said in a statement.
LDCPH expects an increase in allocation from the state next week and will receive about 4,680 vaccine doses.