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Starting Monday, March 29, Phase 5 of Kansas’ statewide vaccine rollout begins, essentially opening the door to any Kansan 16 and older to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
But that doesn’t mean everyone in Johnson County now eligible to get their doses can expect to get an appointment this week. County health director Sanmi Areola, Ph.D., says that’s logistically impossible.
The county’s weekly allotment of vaccines has been increasing in recent weeks, but supply remains well short of demand.
Still, here are some steps you can take to try and find an open appointment for yourself or a loved one:
Fill out the county’s interest survey
Eligibility does not automatically secure an appointment.
County health officials urge Johnson County residents who still need a vaccine and have become newly eligible to not simply show up at a clinic location expecting to receive a dose.
First, you are encouraged to fill out the county’s all-phases vaccine interest survey here. This essentially puts you in line to get contacted by the county when a vaccine appointment at a county-run clinic opens.
If you’ve already filled out the survey, the county says you don’t need to submit it again. You should have received an automatically generated reply confirming the county’s receipt of your survey.
After you’ve submitted the form, you also don’t have to call the county health department. Areola says people should wait for the county to contact them with an available vaccine appointment.
Ask your doctor or hospital
Not only is the vaccine supply ramping up for county-run vaccine clinics, but Areola says other local vaccinators are picking up the pace as well.
Anyone can still try to secure an appointment if they are a patient at any major local health systems. These hospitals have their own interest surveys for patients (and, in some cases, nonpatients):
Areola said that the county this week will also distribute about 1,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine to private primary care physicians who have registered with the state to be able to vaccinate their patients directly.
Look up a local pharmacy
A limited supply of vaccines is also still coming into Johnson County through the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program. These doses are a separate supply stream from the county’s but are administered based on the state’s current phase.
That means any adult 16 and older can book an appointment at a participating pharmacy, though appointment slots have been filling up quickly.
In Johnson County, this includes:
- Balls Food (which owns Price Chopper and Hen House)
- Walmart (including Sam’s Club)
Check out the CDC’s Vaccine Finder
The CDC’s Vaccine Finder may be the simplest way to figure out what retail pharmacy locations in your area are being supplied with COVID-19 vaccines.
The tool allows you to input your zip code and a geographic area up to 50 miles away to search.
However, be aware that some locations listed by the Finder as having vaccines “in stock” may not actually have doses readily available, as reporting lags along the supply chain have been common.
Consider who is in line before you
There are still people left from Phase 2 who have eligibility and remain at the top of the county’s list of those to vaccinate first, followed by others who just became eligible under Phases 3 and 4 one week ago.
Areola says now that vaccines are available to any adult who wants to receive one, the JCDHE will start reaching out to people according to the order in which they filled out and submitted the vaccine interest survey form.
However, Areola said that county health officials will prioritize some people, including people over the age of 65 still waiting on an appointment and some people in communities that have been overlooked or missed in previous stages of the vaccine rollout.