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KCMO Health Department warns of possible Delta variant outbreak, targets vaccinating young people

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Posted at 4:06 PM, Jun 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-27 15:20:14-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo — Dozens of people were out at City Market in Kansas City, Missouri, on Saturday supporting local businesses and enjoying the cooler weather.

The Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department said it was intentional about choosing the location for a mobile clinic to vaccinate shoppers.

“We are really pushing out our vaccine and trying to go to places where people are,” Frank Thompson, KCMO Health Department deputy director, said. “City Market is one of those places.”

Thompson hopes creating more access points will eliminate the first hurdle of getting vaccinated. The city is feeling a sense of urgency as the new Delta variant hits parts of Missouri.

“We know that it’s headed our way, we had one confirmed case here in Kansas City,” Thompson said.

The new Delta variant is 66% more infectious and is twice as likely to cause hospitalizations. Thompson warns the city has about two to three weeks to prepare.

“We’re nowhere close to where we need to be. We’ve currently got about 35-36% of our population fully vaccinated. We need to be at least double that," Thompson said.

The department is targeting younger generations this weekend. Payton Behrens, 15, is one of them.

“I got my ears pierced like a week ago, and the guy was like, ‘Just breathe,'" Behrens said. "So I went and it was already done. It was a lot easier than looking at it and going, ‘Ow.'"

While she is scared of needles, Behrens is getting the vaccine for her mom who is high risk. She recalls the tough year she and her family had during quarantine.

“I’d say it’s not that bad. It’s safer than just not getting it,” Behrens said. “We had a lot of family pass away, and it was really hard. I mean, we still got together, but it was really hard for us.”

Thompson said the health department is working to break some of the myths surrounding the vaccine’s efficacy and the need for it in young adults.