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Governor’s Office and JAAA continue to work to help older Kansans get vaccine

Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 6:33 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Jayhawk Area Agency on Aging provides information, referrals and other services for older Kansans and their caregivers, now some of their focus is helping those struggling to access internet to sign up for vaccines.

JAAA helps those throughout Shawnee, Douglas and Jefferson counties and Executive director Susan Harris said they have received a limited numbers of complaints with Shawnee Co. COVID-19 roll-out. Some being concerns for those without access to a smartphone or internet, like one individual in Douglas Co.

“Their concern was you had to have a smartphone with a QR code to utilize it. So, I do have a staff person in Lawrence who is working with the health department,” said Harris.

Chief Advisor for Gov. Laura Kelly’s COVID-19 coordination Dr. Marci Nielsen told 13 News they are having to get creative to get their communication on sites and information to all communities.

“You can work with the community to get the word out and it doesn’t have to be through the internet. It’s through churches. It’s through libraries. It’s through grocery stores with flyers, in the newspaper,” said Nielsen.

One way, she said, to get all on the same page is mass vaccination sites. Mass vaccinations sites have large spaces to ensure social distancing, supervising patients for 15 minutes after their shot would be taken care of because the number of staff on site, and many workers are volunteers from the community or staff from the local health department. There is one site currently in Wyandotte Co.

“I think we’re going to see many more mass vaccination events. You hear about them in various football stadiums,” said Nielsen. “We intend to create as many mass vaccination opportunities in Kansas as possible.”

Harris encourages those without smartphones to reach out and ask for help.

“Loved ones, your family members, your neighbors, I mean anyway you can help connect the older adults in your life to the ability to get that vaccine is going to be quite beneficial,” said Harris.

States currently only have one week’s notice of how many vaccines they will receive from the federal level. Nielsen said that is causing supply problems, leading to a lack of information to communities waiting for their shot, to take the shot. She encourages Kansans to stay patient.

“Understand that we are doing everything we possibly can and we are hoping that the process at the federal level improves over time,” she said.

The Shawnee Co. Health Department said they have received more than 30,000 responses to their vaccine interest survey already. If an individual does not have a smartphone or access to the internet they can call 785-251-4949 to speak to one of their information specialists who will help them complete the survey.

For information on more Kansas counties go to the COVID-19 Resources tab on WIBW.com or click HERE

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