COVID-19 vaccine allocation: How Kansas distributes doses

Posted at 6:50 PM, Jan 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-14 20:00:59-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — According to the CDC's COVID-19 tracker, the state of Kansas has received 261,175 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Thursday.

A Johnson County, Kansas, man reached out to 41 Action News after noticing what he thought appeared to be a low amount of COVID-19 doses distributed to his county.

According to the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment's website, the county has been allocated 9,750 doses so far. That figure combines 7,350 first-round doses and 2,400 second-round doses.

Here's a breakdown vaccines distributed and administered in Johnson County:

The number of first-round doses represents 1.2% of the county's population, which stood at 602,401 as of the 2019 Census.

In Sedgewick County - the state's second largest county with 516,042 residents, the number of first round doses allocated, 8,470, represents 1.64% of the population.

The viewer who contacted us essentially asked, "Why would a smaller county get more doses?"

41 Action News asked Gov. Laura Kelly that very question.

“I believe the formula that is used for distribution is based on the number of cases in the population," Kelly said. "I think as we go forward, I just saw some guidance from CDC that there will be some determination of how quickly counties are getting people vaccinated, are they using the doses quickly and that will start to determine how many more they get."

Also, according to the Kansas vaccination plan,"Vaccine allocation in Kansas will depend on numerous factors such as vaccine doses available, vaccine indications, vaccine storage requirements, minimum vaccine ordering allowed and vaccine provider availability."

However, the Johnson County Director of the Department of Health and Environment says the department not only has the capacity to store and administer the vaccine, they also have a high number of people who still need to be vaccinated as part of Phase 1.

"As of last week, we had about 25,000 people waiting to be vaccinated," Dr. Sanmi Areola said. "And with what we had received thus far last week and then this week, we were able to make some progress in getting additional doses, but what we’ve received directly from the state is not nearly enough to get us through the first phase."

In addition to receiving doses from the state, Johnson County has been given extra doses from area hospitals and the Health Partnership Clinic.

However, it will need more to finish vaccinating healthcare associated workers. The demand will continue to climb as the state moves into Phase 2.

"I'd like to remind people that in Johnson County, almost 95,500 of our residents are 65 or older, so that’s a very large group," Dr. Areola said. "And, when you add all the other sections of that grouping we might be talking about 120,000, 130,000, or even 140,000 persons."

Health officials at JCDHE are launching an online survey tool so people can keep track of when it's their turn to be vaccinated.

It's expected to be ready on Friday, Jan. 15. All it takes is entering a name, email address and other basic information.

The tool will then notify someone when they're eligible to receive the vaccines.

Dr. Areola said this would just be a notification, meaning someone would have to look for a link to sign up and make an appointment.