Kansas awards $900K to healthcare providers to boost COVID-19 vaccinations

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA (KSNT) – In a new push to increase vaccinations in the state, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly announced $900,000 in grants going to healthcare providers to support vaccination efforts on Wednesday.

“We’ve got to work with the primary care provider groups to make sure that they have the resources they need to get them all barred in to this concept of get to your doctor and get vaccinated,” Gov. Kelly said.

The money will be used across the state to hire dedicated staff members to promote and administer vaccines.

The governor held a roundtable discussion with primary care providers, joined by Dr. Marci Nielsen, the state’s Chief Advisor of Vaccine Distribution, to talk about the challenges providers face getting coronavirus shots to Kansans.

Many providers discussed issues with vaccine hesitancy, noting that some people are apprehensive about getting the shot due to misinformation. Wilson County Health Officer, Dr. Jennifer McKinney, said some providers in rural areas are also lacking the technology to effectively distribute vaccines.

“A lot of us are out in rural Kansas, and we don’t have anyone else to ask, or any resources other than what we have in our own clinics,” McKinney said.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment will provide the Kansas Association of Family Physicians and the Kansas Association of Pediatricians each with a three-year $450,000 grant, totaling $900,000.

According to the state, the grants will allow primary care providers to hire workers who will serve as a liaison to the KDHE immunization team, specifically supporting providers in on-boarding, administering and advocating for vaccinations. One of the jobs workers will be tasked with is enrolling more vaccine providers and helping those struggling to order vaccines.

The announcement comes after the pandemic state of emergency ended at midnight on Wednesday.

Kansas health officials said the state has seen a “slow down” in vaccinations. Without the emergency order in place, the state will no longer receive additional help from the Kansas Department of Emergency Management and National Guard in their vaccination efforts.

The governor said the state will have to work harder to meet its vaccination goals.

“Having to move the equipment in the middle of the game, so that a different agency is dealing with it, is just a completely and totally unnecessary hiccup that makes it harder for us to do what we do,” said Gov. Kelly. “But we’ll just work harder, and we’ll get it done.”

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