Swope Health COVID-19 vaccination event targets underserved population

Swope Health Vaccine Clinic
Posted at 9:07 PM, Mar 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-07 12:39:04-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — While frustrations for some are high, others are beginning to see the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out as effective.

“I’ve never seen anything so well managed," Lester Kerschner, of Lenexa.

For more than one month, Kerschner has been on a handful of waiting lists for the vaccine, but received his first dose on Friday.

“The thing is, if people have persistence and patience and, you know, keep your eye on the goal, they’ll get there and they’ll get the vaccine," Kerschner said.

As states get their hands on more doses, more clinics are opening in Kansas and Missouri.

On Saturday, Swope Health Central hosted a drive-thru vaccination event with Sen. Barbara Anne Washington.

“This was our first opportunity, our first opportunity partnering with the Kansas City Health Department, so we’ll get better," Washington said, "but our job is to get as many people vaccinated that need it and want it."

The clinic's goal was to make the first dose of the vaccine available to underserved members of the community who are eligible.

“Statewide, there are certain populations, communities of color, that are not being vaccinated at the same level as other communities," Frank Thompson, deputy director of the KCMO Health Department, said. "So the senator thought it was important to bring it here to the heart of her district and to really tailor our outreach to really hit those communities."

The event planned for 500 people, but organizers were able to vaccinate 300 people. Organizers tried to contact other residents from a waiting list.

About 15% of Kansas residents have been vaccinated, according to the KDHE website.

In Missouri, the Department of Health and Senior Services has recorded 16% of its residents as vaccinated.

After receiving his first dose of the vaccine, Kerschner is hopeful, but still uncertain about the future.

“Life is not getting back to normal, I don’t think anytime soon," Kerschner said.