Kansas moving to Phase 2 of vaccine distribution

laura kelly jan 21 press conference
Posted at 5:13 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 18:13:08-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas is moving to Phase 2 of its vaccination plan, Gov. Laura Kelly announced Thursday.

Phase 2 includes three new groups of people eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

People ages 65 and older will now be able to get the vaccine, as well as those with jobs that require high contact with the public and are critical for public health and safety.

That group includes teachers and child care staff, emergency workers such as firefighters and police officers, factory workers, retail and agriculture workers critical to the state’s COVID-19 response, USPS employees and those of the department of motor vehicles.

The third group eligible to get vaccines in Phase 2 are people living in a congregate setting where social distancing is not possible, such as correctional facilities.

Kelly said local health department will determine when to open up those eligibilities, since they are better acquainted with their communities’ needs.

Right now, about 3.8% of Kansas’ population has been vaccinated, Kelly said, and the state’s vaccination rate ultimately depends on the number of doses it receives.

“As we go into Phase 2, the number of Kansans who are now eligible for vaccines have just skyrocketed, and we need a like number of vaccines coming into the state so we can take care of everybody,” Kelly said.

Earlier Thursday, newly-inaugurated President Joe Biden signed an executive order to expand the Defense Production Act, which prompts an inventory and creation of what the country needs.

Kelly said she is “thrilled” about the order.

“Hallelujah. We have needed this for a long time. The response to this kind of emergency really does need to be driven from the federal government down to the state governments … like any other emergency of this magnitude,” Kelly said.

On that front, Kelly announced the state received more than 53,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine this week.

From Pfizer, the state obtained 18,525 prime, or first, doses.

Moderna shipped 17,800 prime doses and 17,000 booster shots to the state.