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Wichita Health Care Workers Receive First Coronavirus Vaccines

Wichita Eagle
Intensive care nurse Kristen Garrett, left, received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine from supervisor Aimee Wilson at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis hospital.

Health care workers in Wichita were among the first in the state to get the new COVID-19 vaccination.

Five employees of the Ascension Via Christi health system received shots at St. Francis Hospital Monday.  The hospital says a critical care nurse, a housekeeper for a COVID-19 unit and a respiratory therapist were among those who were vaccinated.  Frontline health workers at other Ascension Via Christi facilities in Kansas will receive the vaccination later this week.

State health officials expect to receive about 24,000 vaccine doses this week, with more shipments due to arrive in the next few weeks. The state's vaccine distribution plan calls for giving the first shots to health care workers at high risk of coronavirus exposure and to staff and residents at nursing homes.

Under Phase 2 of the state's distribution plan, essential workers and medically at-risk residents could have the two-dose vaccine by this spring.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use on Friday; doses began rolling out to states Monday. Kansas is distributing its vaccines via five ultra-cold storage locations across the state.  Vaccine packages will be delivered directly to hospitals, pharmacies and clinics.

Officials say vaccinations for the general public could begin late spring.

Deborah joined the news team at KMUW in September 2014 as a news reporter. She spent more than a dozen years working in news at both public and commercial radio and television stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Detroit, Michigan. Before relocating to Wichita in 2013, Deborah taught news and broadcasting classes at Tarrant County College in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area.