Vaccine distribution unclear as vaccine supplies dwindle in some areas

Johnson County health department out of vaccines
COVID-19 vaccine
Posted at 6:33 PM, Jan 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-11 19:33:56-05

JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. — It is unclear when the next phases of COVID-19 vaccination will happen in Missouri and Kansas as the rollout may take longer than expected.

"We had a lot of excitement about the vaccines finally coming out. Suddenly, there's a boycott on information or a blackout on information," said Fred Gambino, who lives in KCMO.

With this first phase comes a lot of questions for frustrated people, including Gambino.

"Are they just going to suddenly say it's a free-for-all, anybody can come and if you're the fastest and first, you'll get it, but everybody else goodbye? They say they've got a plan, but we haven't heard about," Gambino said.

Gambino fits into the next phase of vaccinations: seniors. He got excited when he was asked to fill out the Jackson County Health Department's Vaccine Survey with hopes his turn was coming up.

"The state will decide when we can move forward, and we'll just take our cues from them and follow their plan and get as many folks vaccinated as we can," said Kayla Parker, Jackson County Health Department communications coordinator.

Due to the slower-than-expected rollout, front line workers are still getting the shot.

"My state representative doesn't know. It seems to me, it's been about a month since they released vaccines. Somebody should be able to tell us something. That's all," Gambino said.

In Johnson County, approximately 20,000 health care workers have not been vaccinated and the county used its last doses Monday. So, while they wait, they are asking for help.

"We've got another 1,000 from Health Partnership and had a good conversation with the University of Kansas Health System this morning, and should be able to get additional doses from them," said Dr. Sanmi Areola, Johnson County Department of Health and Environment director.

The county is getting help as it waits for the next shipment from the state to come in.

"I expect this week to be better than last week, and next week to be better than this week, and so don't get discouraged. It's a marathon, it's not a sprint. We are going to get everyone vaccinated," Areola said.

Gambino and others just want some clarity on when they can expect to receive the vaccine.

"My family and I, we've missed the funeral my brother. We've missed weddings. We've tried to do the right thing and be very careful, but it seems that the government didn't handle it well from the start," Gambino said.