Update: This story has been updated from its original version after the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment confirmed it had received some doses for vaccinations this week and said it expected to receive all the doses it needs to conduct its planned clinics for the remainder of this week.
Last week’s bad winter weather apparently won’t complicate vaccine plans this week in Johnson County.
Johnson County health officials confirmed Monday afternoon that they had received some of their weekly allotment of doses and expected to receive the rest in time to conduct their full slate of planned vaccine clinics this week.
The county’s weekly shipment from the state usually arrives by Wednesday in the week before planned clinics, county health director Sanmi Areola, Ph.D., said, but by Friday, the county had not received its doses due to delays caused by last weeks winter weather.
Thousands of doses were stranded at shipping hubs across the U.S. following a major winter storm that brought snow and sub-zero temperatures to large swaths of the country and prompted rolling blackouts in more than a dozen states, including Kansas.
Clinics planned for Tuesday and Wednesday in Johnson County should be unaffected by the delays since doses for those clinics are already here, but a press release from the county health department Friday admitted some appointments and clinics planned for later this week are subject to change if deliveries are delayed.
Areola said with the weather improving this week, he expects the doses to arrive soon. If they do come, appointments set for later in the week and early next week should operate as planned.
Here is what else you need to know about vaccine administration in Johnson County this week:
Retail pharmacy clinics could also be delayed
Still, Balls Foods said it had not yet received its new shipment of vaccines through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program for clinics this week and said there could be delays in planned vaccine administration as a result.
At least seven pharmacies at Balls Foods’ Hen House and Price Chopper locations in Johnson County are offering a very limited number of doses to residents 65 and older through the program.
Residents wanting to try to secure an appointment through a Balls Foods pharmacy are urged to regularly check their pharmacies’ website here.
Appointments for seniors
The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment plans to continue hosting first-dose clinics for residents who are 80 years or older. Additionally, the county plans to give second doses to those who are due in the 80+ group, too.
Though an exact timeline isn’t available, Areola said he hopes the county can get through the 80+ group soon.
Meanwhile, local health systems will continue vaccinating people 65 and older through doses allotted by the county health department.
Hospitals are primarily focused on offering vaccines to their own patients, but some allow nonpatients to sign up for alerts, potentially opening up eventual slots. Information about getting on each hospital’s list to receive a vaccine through their clinics is available here.
Rescheduled second dose clinic
On Wednesday, the county has a vaccine clinic scheduled to administer second doses to people who were originally scheduled to receive it last Tuesday. That clinic was canceled by severe winter weather and the threat of power outages across the county.
People who were supposed to receive their vaccine last Tuesday are instructed to go to the same place at the same time their original appointment was set for this Wednesday.
People who are unable to attend this rescheduled Wednesday appointment can reschedule or cancel for a future date. In the confirmation email you received from JCDHE about your vaccine appointment, there is a box on the right side to change your appointment.
Educator and childcare provider clinics
The county says so far about 40% of Johnson County educators have received a vaccine through clinics administered by Children’s Mercy. Additionally, by the end of next week, the county says it hopes to have about the same proportion of childcare providers covered as well.
Soon, the county expects to start receiving more doses in its allotment specifically designated for K-12 educators as part of the state’s plan to get all students back to school as soon as possible.
That will help the county vaccinate educators more quickly than originally forecast, the county’s director of epidemiology Elizabeth Holzschuh said. Original projections had educator vaccinations continuing through at least April, but Holzschuh said they could be wrapped up a month earlier that that.
That, in turn, could allow the county to move on to other priority groups sooner than expected.
“It just gives us a little more flexibility to really be able to get through both priority groups in Phase 2, Tier 1 much quicker than we could have been able to do without that,” Holzschuh said.