Kansas Vaccination Plan Prioritizes Health Care Workers

Oct 21, 2020

TOPEKA — Health care workers and long-term care residents will be among those who will get the coronavirus vaccine first in Kansas, a draft plan shows.

Kansas’ 45-page plan was filed in the past week with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other groups that will be prioritized for the initial rounds of vaccinations include people with underlying medical conditions, people 65 and older and essential workers.

Of course, a vaccine must be approved for use first, and it’s not clear when that will happen or how many doses will be initially available. State health officials predict a limited supply of the vaccine when one is ready.

Phil Griffin, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment bureau director for disease control and prevention, said most of the plan is simply a scaled-up version of what the state does with the flu vaccine each year.

He said the agency will use advisory committees to help determine who should receive the vaccine after the initial groups. The plan indicates KDHE is taking input from groups representing individuals with disabilities, people of color, children and other demographics.

Griffin said there have been questions about whether states will receive vaccines based on the severity of the virus in their area, but no definitive answers. Kansas is being hard hit at the moment, though conditions could be significantly different months from now.

Federal funds will cover much of the cost of distributing the vaccine, Griffin said. But the state’s plan doesn’t say how the actual vaccinations will be funded.