The race to get COVID vaccines into the arms of individuals is one local health officials say has been a slow, but steady success.
Vaccine clinics have proved to be efficient in getting most critical health care and high risk patients vaccinated. Pottawatomie County Health Department Director Leslie Campbell says her department has been receiving about 300 doses in its weekly shipment, but stopped short Monday of telling county commissioners an exact number of vaccine doses it has in stock.
“I’d rather not tell you that, because then the people in the public are going to say hey you’ve got doses you’re sitting on and we have people scheduled next Monday. We have 300 people scheduled,” she said.
Health officials all across Kansas are balancing a tightrope of ensuring the vaccines coming into their possession aren’t wasted, since it does have a short shelf life once it is taken from the freezers.
Campbell says staffing concerns are another challenge for her department which has already been taxed.
“We have people scheduled Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to get COVID vaccines. The only day we don’t is tomorrow (Tuesday) because we were thinking that once we did the mass clinic today that tomorrow we’d have some clean up from that. If not, we’ll start scheduling people,” she said.
A vaccine clinic scheduled for Monday was rescheduled to Feb. 1 due to the forecast for inclement weather.
Campbell says the state has been sending about 300 doses each week to the county.
“We’re not to hold back on second doses. We are getting second doses and already got our 100 health care workers who have received their second doses. We have that in our freezers ready to go,” she said.
Campbell says they will be vaccinating subgroups within phase two this week, as advised by the state health department. Some congregate settings are also being targeted by the health department. That would include those living or working in a shelter, unlicensed retirement facilities and the Pottawatomie County Jail in Westmoreland.