CDC vaccination data shows Johnson County leading Kansas City metro

Johnson County community spread

After some logistical hiccups at the start of its vaccine rollout, Johnson County has now fully vaccinated nearly 20% of its population, according to newly published data form the CDC. That's the highest vaccination rate of any Kansas City area county. File photo.

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Johnson County’s COVID-19 vaccination rate is the highest among counties in the greater Kansas City region, according to newly published CDC data.

As of Wednesday, March 31, the CDC says 19.7% of Johnson County residents have been fully vaccinated. That translates into 118,205 residents, according to the CDC’s figures.

Other metro counties’ current vaccination rates, according to the CDC, include:

  • Wyandotte County, Kan., 10.9%
  • Leavenworth County, Kan., 18.1%
  • Miami County, Kan., 16.4%
  • Jackson County, Mo., 14.7%
  • Clay County, Mo., 15.3%
  • Platte County, Mo., 14.9%
  • Cass County, Mo., 13.9%

KCUR has published an interactive map of four Midwest states’ vaccination data, broken down by county.

All adults in Kansas are now eligible to be vaccinated. Here is how to find vaccination appointments in Johnson County.

Local data differs but shows similar trend

The CDC says it gathers data from a variety of sources, including state and local authorities’ own immunization reports, as well as vaccinations reported directly to the CDC through a cloud-based COVID-19 Data Clearing House.

The CDC’s data shows a higher rate of vaccinations than what is currently being reported by local authorities.

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment currently says a little more than 85,600 residents have been fully vaccinated, a rate of 14.2%.

JCDHE says 25.4% of Johnson County residents have received their first dose.

The discrepancy could be due, in part, to how much data the county as access to compared to the CDC.

County health director Sanmi Areola, Ph.D., said the county currently does not know how many Johnson County residents have gotten vaccinated in other states, like Missouri, which could be impacting the overall count.

Still, even though JCDHE’s and the CDC’s figures differ, the general trends reported form both local and federal sources show that Johnson County is a leader in the Kansas City region in vaccinating residents.

The Mid-America Regional Council reports that Johnson County’s 25.4% rate of vaccine initiations — that is, people who have received their first dose — is the highest in the Kansas City area of the 10 jurisdictions MARC tracks.

Johnson County and the city of Kansas City, Mo., have the highest rates of residents who are fully vaccinated: 14.2% and 14.3%, respectively, according to MARC’s data, which is culled from local health departments.

Statewide data

Johnson County does not have the highest vaccination rate in Kansas, though.

Numerous counties in western Kansas, which are much more sparsely populated, have much higher rates than Johnson County.

That includes Gove County, which has a rate of 30.1%, the highest in the state.

Meanwhile, three of  Kansas’ least vaccinated counties — Finney, Sedgewick and Wyandotte — also have disproportionately large populations of people of color, compared to other Kansas counties with higher vaccine rates.

Rates of vaccination for Latinos and Blacks have consistently lagged behind those of whites. 

Vaccine hesitancy, communication barriers and other factors, including a historic distrust of the health care system, have contributed to the lower rates in these communities.

Finney, a meatpacking hub in southwest Kansas, and Sedgewick, home to Wichita, both have vaccination rates of 9.7%. Wyandotte’s 10.9% is the lowest in the Kansas City metro region.

Overall, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment says slightly more than 801,000 Kansans, or 27.5% of the state’s population, have received at least one dose.

Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to include comments from Johnson County health director Sanmi Areola.