KC-area hospitals see shift in supply, demand for COVID-19 vaccines

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Posted at 6:52 PM, Apr 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-19 19:52:20-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — Kansas City-area hospitals are seeing a huge shift in supply and demand for COVID-19 vaccines.

A few months ago, they were a precious commodity. Now, hospital leaders are asking members of the public to please come get one.

As of Monday morning, Charlie Shields, president and CEO of Truman Medical Centers/University Health, said the hospitals had 1,500 available appointments.

Many people, like Kansas City, Missouri, resident Sara Huff, who saw the hospital's call for sign-ups on 41 Action News, were able to make an appointment and receive their first dose just minutes later.

"The last three months, in particular, are becoming very isolating," Huff said, "and I'm ready to get out of the bubble and back in the real world."

Huff was grateful to receive her vaccine just minutes after calling 404-CARE. She said she hopes others will take advantage of the large supply hospitals are seeing.

"I think in order for our lives to resume that it is very important for the majority of the population to get vaccinated, provided that their health status will permit that," Huff said.

Shields said the hospitals have worked their way through the entire wait list for appointments, which had 30,000 people.

"People need to know the vaccine is out there, it's available," Shields said. "I mean, this is not the situation it was early January or even into February."

Shields said patients do have to schedule an appointment so the hospital is ready for them, but he believes walk-in clinics aren't that far off in the future.

At AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Larry Botts said mass clinics will soon be in the past. The hospital also has an excess amount of vaccines from a weekend mass clinic.

"We vaccinated about 1,000 people, but we actually had about 2,400 slots when we started scheduling," Botts said, "and in the past those would fill up in an hour or two."

The hospital currently has about 1,000 slots available for an upcoming clinic this weekend, which likely will be the last of its size. Botts said the hospital will begin to target smaller offices for vaccines rather than host large, mass-vaccine events.

"It's a very good place for us to be," Botts said. "It was very difficult when we had such a high demand and had a low supply. It was hard to turn people away."

To sign up for a vaccine at Truman Medical Centers/University Health, call 816-404-CARE (2273).

To sign up at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, those interested can do so online.