Johnson County prepares for Phase 2 vaccine rollout, wants residents to take survey

Johnson County kids vaccine

Individuals who are part of Phase 2 of Johnson County's vaccine rollout include people 65 and older, essential workers and some health care workers not vaccinated in Phase 1. File photo.

The Shawnee Mission Post is making much of its local coverage of the coronavirus pandemic accessible to non-subscribers. (If you value having a news source covering the situation in our community, we hope you’ll consider subscribing here).

Many Johnson Countians wanting to get the COVID-19 vaccine now have a way to tell county health officials.

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment on Friday launched an online survey that allows people in Phase 2 of the county’s vaccine rollout plan to let the county know they’d like to receive the two-dose vaccine when they become eligible.

Phase 2 of the vaccine rollout plan will include:

  • adults 65 and older
  • “high-contact” critical workers, including police officers, firefighters, teachers and grocery store workers (click here for a full list)
  • health care workers not vaccinated during Phase 1

Phase 1 is still ongoing and is expected to continue through January. Below is the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s five-phase vaccination plan, which JCDHE is following.

Survey will not make an appointment

County Health Director Sanmi Areola, Ph.D., told the county commission Thursday that vaccinations for the Phase 2 group could begin as early as next month.

He said the online survey aims to help county officials know the scope of the need for what is expected to be a large group of Phase 2 vaccine recipients. But the survey will not allow people to set up an appointment to get vaccinated.

Areola estimated that there may be as many as 150,000 Johnson Countians who qualify for vaccines in Phase 2.

The new survey system in Johnson County mirrors similar online registration systems already in use in Wyandotte and Jackson Counties. Those counties also ask residents to fill out information — including name, address and age — to see when they may become eligible to get vaccinated.

Johnson County health officials said the county will reach out to individuals who register to give them more information once they are eligible.

Phase 1 vaccinations picked up this week

A lot still has to happen before the vaccinations in Phase 2 can begin, but the outlook became slightly more optimistic this week with an uptick in the number of doses the county has received.

Before Monday, only 4,000 doses had been given to Phase 1 recipients, which include health care workers and others critical to pandemic response. (Workers and residents in long-term care facilities in Johnson County are also being vaccinated but through a federal pharmaceutical partnership that is not included in the county’s overall count, Areola said.)

But by Thursday this week, the county had received 7,350 more doses and is expecting 3,900 more soon. Of those, about 5,000 are for the booster shot to be given to people who already received the first dose.

The vaccinations for Phase 2 can’t begin until Phase 1 is complete, Areola told commissioners. There are an estimated 10,000 shots still to be administered for that to happen.

Where to find more information

The county health department is encouraging health care workers in Phase 1 to still sign up for their shots now that more vaccines are becoming available.

Doses for Phase 1-eligible residents will be available by appointment Tuesday through Friday for the next two weeks for those who produce proof of employment, medical certification and a valid ID. These appointments are not available to the general public.

The county has been giving out the doses as they come in and does not hoard vaccine, Areola said, even to set aside doses for boosters.

County health officials urge residents to frequently check JCDHE’s vaccine information page for updates. They also encourage residents to sign up for the county’s daily COVID-19 newsletter, informing residents about the latest news, data and trends related to the pandemic in Johnson County.

In the meantime, Areola urged residents to continue wearing masks, social distancing and staying home if sick, in order to tamp down spread of the disease.