COVID-19 Update: Text alerts, craft brewery clinics — how Johnson County is trying to vaccinate young adults

More than 50% of eligible Johnson County residents are at least partially vaccinated, according to county data. But young adults in their 20s and 30s have vaccination rates roughly half the county average. Image via Johnson County Department of Health and Environment's Facebook page.

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Johnson County’s downward trend in the local spread of COVID-19 continued this past week, with key metrics continuing to drop to levels not seen in more than a year.

This is due in large part to the steady uptick in residents getting vaccinated in recent weeks.

Still, county health officials say young adults between the ages of 18 and 39 lag behind overall vaccination rates in Johnson County, keeping the county well short of herd immunity.

“Our data shows that adults 65 and up are over 80%, and could be as high as 90%, of that age group have been fully vaccinated,” Elizabeth Holzschuh, the county’s director of epidemiology said this week. “But we’re still only seeing about 30% of the 20-30 age group being partially or fully vaccinated.”

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment is picking up its efforts to offer vaccines to younger adults more directly, in the form of mobile or pop-up vaccine sites and text alerts. In conjunction, the county is also gradually moving away from mass vaccination clinics.

“I don’t think this age group [young adults] is particularly vaccine-hesitant, I think that they’re busy and it’s just not a priority for them,” Holzschuh said. “But if we provide it for them where it’s convenient and where they are, there is an increased likelihood they are going to get it.

JCDHE plans to offer pop-up vaccine clinics in coming weeks in coordination with local businesses and the community partnership in places where it might be more convenient for young people.

Resources available to young adults:

  • JCDHE will be outside The Running Well Store, 6009 Johnson Drive in Mission, from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 3, to administer vaccines to anyone wishing to receive.
  • Details are also still being finalized for a vaccination site at Sandhills Brewery on Johnson Drive in Mission on Wednesday, June 9th. JCDHE plans to have more details as they become available.
  • JCDHE is also offering a text-based service to show which vaccination clinic is closest in your area. You can text your zip code to 438829 to receive vaccination sites in your area.
  • Johnson County Community College in Overland Park will also offer a vaccination clinic on-campus for students on a rolling basis through the summer.

The JCDHE will provide more upcoming events and activities through its website, as they become available this coming week

What to remember:

  • COVID-19 vaccines remain 100% free.
  • Anyone 12 years or older is eligible to receive the vaccine.
  • The COVID-19 virus does present health risks to all age groups, according to public health officials. While the CDC has said young adults are not generally as susceptible to severe COVID-19 complications as the elderly, young people exposed to the virus have the potential to experience lasting health issues.
  • Vaccination offers long-term immunity — up to one year, according to the CDC. So, getting regular or annual booster shots is likely.
  • CDC guidance says fully vaccinated individuals no longer have to wear masks outdoors or in most indoor situations, though it may still be  recommended or required by individuals businesses and organizations.

Here’s a look at some local COVID-19 metrics:

Data courtesy the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment.

Johnson County’s downward fall in some key COVID-19 metrics continued this past week.

The county’s percent positivity fell to 1.8%, the first time that metric has dropped below 2% since last May.

The incidence rate also fell sharply after a steep increase the past two weeks. Cases per 100,000 fell by 47% to 55 from 104 the previous week.

County health officials said the recent sudden spike in incidence rate can be attributed to the addition of old cases compiled from local hospitals who experienced “significant delays” in their data reporting.

It appears with that late-reported data now accounted for, the incidence rate has fallen once again.

Johnson County recorded one new death from COVID-19 this past week, brining the county’s total through the pandemic to 662.

Hospitalizations also went up but by a smaller amount than in many prior weeks, growing by 18 new admittances.

Vaccination opportunities this week

Anyone 12 years old or older is now eligible for the vaccine. Walk-in hours for JCDHE’s mass vaccine clinic at 15500 W. 108th Street in Lenexa are as follows:

  • 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Tuesdays
  • 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 2 and Wednesday, June 9
  • 3 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursdays
  • 9 a.m. to 11:30 on Saturday, June 5 and Saturday, June 12

You can find all of the details on Johnson County’s vaccination efforts here and can still schedule a vaccine appointment in advance here.

Read more of our recent COVID-19 coverage