Johnson County expands Phase 2 vaccinations this week — here’s who’s next and who must still wait

Johnson County Phase 2

Johnson County health officials continue to focus on vaccinating people 65 and older. Meanwhile, Children's Mercy Hospital has been administering doses to K-12 educators and child care workers and says that group could be finished with first-dose vaccinations this week. Image courtesy the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment.

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The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment says it will continue to focus on vaccinating people who are 65 and older this week, while expanding efforts to vaccinate some hard-to-reach populations, including the homeless and those with intellectual disabilities.

Meanwhile, Children’s Mercy says it expects to finish first dose administrations this week for all K-12 educators and child care workers being vaccinated under the county’s rollout plan.

“Our vaccination plans focus on equity and fairness,” said county health director Dr. Sanmi Areola, Ph.D., in a press release Friday. “It is imperative that all adults have access to the COVID-19 vaccine, no matter their situation.”

At the same time, the pace of vaccine distribution in Johnson County and in Kansas remain behind many other states and jurisdictions around the country.

Here is what you need to know about vaccinations in Johnson County this week:

Those 65+ remain the focus for vaccine clinics:

  • The county says it has at least 5,600 vaccine appointments this week for those 65 and older.
  • As of Monday morning, several hundred slots had not yet been filled. A JCDHE spokesperson said county officials were continuing to invite people who have filled out the county’s vaccine interest survey to take appointments at county clinics.
  • Local health systems are also set to continue vaccinating those 65 and older with doses supplied by the county.
  • County officials estimate there are more than 90,000 people in the 65+ group, which means it will likely take several more weeks to get to all individuals in this age range.

Some vulnerable populations will start getting vaccinated:

  • Some groups who are listed as part of Tier 2 of Phase 2 of the county’s vaccine rollout plan will start getting vaccines this week.
  • This includes: residents in homeless shelters, homebound individuals and those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
  • The county says it’s working with United Community Services, Health Partnership Clinic, Salvation Army, Safehome, Project 1020 and other groups to coordinate vaccinations for these groups.

Educators and child care workers nearing first dose completion:

  • JCDHE says first dose vaccines for K-12 educators and child care workers are “very close” to being completed.
  • These vaccinations are being coordinated through districts and schools and being administered by Children’s Mercy Hospital.
  • All K-12 public school districts in Johnson County have announced plans to return all grade levels to full-time, in-person learning by the end of this month.

Who’s next in line:

  • Other groups in Tier 1 of Phase 2 of Johnson County’s vaccine rollout plan who have not begun vaccinations yet include:
    • Grocery store workers
    • Those in the restaurant and bar industry
    • Workers in food and meat processing plants
    • Food and agricultural workers
  • Other groups in Tiers 2 and 3 of Phase 2 will be eligible even further down the road and include:
    • Transportation workers
    • Employees in warehouses and large-scale manufacturing
    • Postal workers
    • Department of Motor Vehicles workers
    • Corrections facilities
    • Domestic violence shelters

Number of total doses given:

  • As of Monday, March 8, JCDHE says  more than 103,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. That includes more than 67,000 first dose shots.
  • That means roughly 11% of Johnson Countians have been given at least one dose.
  • That lags behind the statewide rate of 15% of Kansas adults who have received at least their first shot.
  • Johnson County makes up about 21% of Kansas’ total population but has received only about 14% of total vaccines from the state.
  • According to one frequently cited vaccine tracker, Kansas is currently 50th in the U.S. in terms of the percentage of vaccines it has administered.