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Kansas COVID response advisor: “This process is going too slowly”

Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 7:34 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas governor’s top advisor for COVID-19 coordination says the vaccination process is moving too slowly.

Dr. Marci Nielsen, PhD, MPH, spoke with 13 NEWS Eye on Northeast Kansas about the process Monday.

It has been a frustrating roll out of the vaccine at almost every level and that includes states,” she said. “We are trying to do what we can to get the vaccine out more quickly.”

Find county-by-county information on COVID-19 vaccines

The state launched Phase 2 vaccinations last week, but not everyone who is eligible in the phase will be able to get a vaccine just yet. While Phase 1 targeted front line health care workers and nursing home residents and staff, Phase 2 includes all persons over age 65; first responders’ persons who live and work in congregate settings like shelters, group homes, and prisons; and certain high-contact critical workers, including teachers and grocery workers.

It amounts to another 1 million Kansans eligible. However, the state is receiving only about 45,000 doses a week. Plus, Nielsen says, the state doesn’t know how much vaccine it will receive until a week ahead of time.

“(The state’s) job is to turn around, allocate those doses, and ask the local health departments to set up a vaccination process,” Nielsen said. “What (the local health departments) are saying to us is it’s really hard to coordinate if we don’t know how many doses we’re going to get in any given week. As the feds improve their process, we hope to be able to give people far more advanced notice.”

Hear more of how Nielsen says the state is working to improve the process in our 13 NEWS interview.

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