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COVID-19 booster demand increases across Kansas City-area

Posted at 8:52 PM, Dec 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-22 23:20:23-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Multiple counties in the Kansas City area have detected cases of the omicron COVID-19 variant.

With the latest surge, whether it be people who want to increase their protection during the holidays, or more people reaching their six-month mark to get a shot, the booster is gaining popularity.

Health leaders from Johnson, Wyandotte and Jackson counties say one thing remains true about the vaccine boosters.

“In December, so far in general that demand is high,” Janell Friesen, with the Unified Government Public Health Department, said.

“Since September, more people have gotten a booster dose than people who have either started or completed their vaccination series combined,” Chip Cohlmia, communicable disease division manager of the Jackson County Health Department said.

Cohlmia says in Jackson County, 52% of the population are fully vaccinated. In recent weeks, 47,000 or 32.7% of those have received their booster, leaving 63,000 who are eligible.

“The booster is really important because it enhances our immune response to the virus," Michael Cho, who received his booster on Wednesday said. "And I think given how little we know about the omicron variant and the long term effects, it's quite important that we do our best to prevent getting it and spreading it to others."

In Johnson County, ‘Rapid Covid Now LLC’ says they’re having a hard time keeping up with the demand for vaccines in recent weeks.

Pharmacist Alan DeFever says they’ve requested 75% more vaccine allocation, previously boosting 20 people a day to up to 300 per day.

County and state health departments say they’ve had no issues getting the right vaccine amounts from state governments.

“Providers place their order requests with us each week, and we order on behalf of the state’s providers each week,” Lisa Cox, a spokeswoman with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said. “Vaccines and supplies are then shipped directly to providers from manufacturers. We haven’t experienced distribution issues, and vaccines are still widely available.”

“There has been more demand for vaccines lately, which is always nice to see,” Barbara Mitchell, a spokeswoman with the Johnson County Health Department of Health and Environment, said. “JCDHE has plenty of vaccines for anyone who wants them.”

But local governments have taken issue with the surge of positive cases putting a strain on hospitals, including Wyandotte County.

“We are seeing 80 or more cases a day right now and we are at four times the amount of cases in October, and that’s a pretty significant increase,” Friesen said. “For people who haven’t got their first dose, just take a look at people around you, maybe talk to some people you know about their experience with the vaccine and consider what it means to you, not only to protect yourself but others.”

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment listed vaccine events as a part of a sustained effort to mobilize Kansans.