Weekly COVID-19 Update: JoCo releases details on vaccine plan as demand far exceeds current supply

About 25,000 healthcare workers and nursing home residents or employees have requested the COVID-19 vaccine in Johnson County. However, the county has only received about 4,000 vaccine doses so far. Above, Rosette Anthony, resident care coordinator at Homestead of Lenexa, receives her COVID-19 vaccination. Photo courtesy Homestead of Lenexa.  

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If you are a Johnson County resident wanting to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccination, unfortunately you are out of luck. That is, unless you are a health care worker or a resident or employee at a long-term care facility.

Dr. Joseph LeMaster, health officer at the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment, said while COVID-19 vaccinations are in high demand throughout the county, only those individuals who fall into the “Phase 1A” group, which includes health care workers and nursing home residents and employees, are getting vaccinated in the county’s first wave of vaccinations.

So far about 25,000 individuals in that Phase 1A have requested vaccines. But that demand far outreaches the county’s supply, he said.

“All together we’ve received about 4,000 doses,” LeMaster said in a video update. “And within this week, most of those will be distributed. The thing that we’re waiting for is to get more vaccine.”

Next up: essential workers, educators and residents 75 and older

The county will move on to vaccinate the second group of individuals only after “Phase 1A” has been vaccinated and Johnson County has received more doses. This could be the end of January or possibly into February, LeMaster said.

The second group includes residents who are 75 years or older, educators and essential workers.

“As soon as vaccine arrives we will immediately give it,” LeMaster said. “We are giving it as quickly as we possibly can.”

Johnson County receives its vaccine doses from the Kansas State Department of Health and Environment and is basing the county rollout plan on KDHE’s timeline, which you can see below:

JCDHE director Sanmi Areola said he felt “fantastic” after receiving the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine two weeks ago and that the main side effects he noticed were soreness at the injection site and a mild fever for a few days.

Areola said that while he’s read that about 60% of individuals nationally are wanting to get the vaccine, that’s different than what JCDHE has seen in Johnson County.

“We are getting a lot of interest,” he said.

Here’s a look at the overall trends in Johnson County:

Data via Johnson County Department of Health and Environment’s COVID-19 dashboard.

While the new cases per 100,000 individuals trended down over last week, the new cases by week and percent positive metrics both increased.

New cases by week are up from 1,561 to 2,045 — an uptick of more than 30%. There has also been 136 new hospitalizations and 43 deaths since last week.

And while the percent positive rate and the new cases by week metric both put schools in the “Red Zone” gating criteria, Shawnee Mission, Blue Valley, De Soto and Olathe school districts are returning middle and high school students to some type of in-person learning over the next few weeks.

Recent COVID-19 coverage:

Johnson County and State announcements: