Veterinarians, public safety personnel and childcare workers are next in line for COVID-19 vaccinations in Sedgwick County.
The county health department released a plan Wednesday that lists the order for the rest of Phase 2 vaccinations. Under the state’s vaccine plan, residents over age 65, people who work in high-contact critical industries, and those who live in congregate settings are eligible for shots in Phase 2.
Sedgwick County prioritized older residents for vaccinations when it began its distribution in December. The county began with residents age 90 and older and moved down incrementally as more vaccine became available. Currently, residents age 65 and older and K-12 school personnel are eligible to schedule an appointment for shots.
“The goal is to keep the infection rate down, to keep patients out of the hospital, and to minimize the impact on the local economy,” said Tim Kaufman, deputy Sedgwick County manager.
The plan divides more than 100,000 essential workers into three groups:
- Veterinarians (100 people)
- Public safety (3,500 people)
- Childcare workers (1,700 people)
- Aviation/manufacturing plants (30,000 people)
- Meat processing plants (1,135 people)
- Transportation (1,000 people)
- Congregate settings (4,000 people)
- USPS & Dept. of Motor Vehicles (2,000 people)
- Higher education (4,400 people)
- Clergy (1,100 people)
- Private packaging & postal delivery: UPS, FedEx
- Grocery store & food service (28,000 people)
- Agriculture (750 people)
- Other industry/retail sales (30,000 people)
The county says there could be adjustments to the number of people in each category.
County Health Officer Dr. Garold Minns and a committee came up with the order.
“It gets very difficult making these decisions about who goes first, who goes second,” Minns said. “Our committee has tried to do it by consensus. There is not always 100% agreement, but there’s consensus.”
The county expects to begin vaccinations for those groups later this month.
Sedgwick County commissioners voted unanimously to send a letter to the Kansas Department for Health and Environment (KDHE) and Gov. Laura Kelly to formally request that the county be allowed to administer the vaccine to people with severe medical risks.
Currently, people with underlying health conditions that put them at risk for COVID-19 are in Phase 3. Dr. Minns says he follows KDHE guidelines for each phase, and the county doesn’t have the authority to move a population from one phase to another.
The county has received about 14,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine each week. Kaufman says the county is expected to receive 3,800 doses of the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine later this week. He says they’re working with KDHE to come up with guidelines for how the county will dispense the new vaccine.