Kansas ranks 20th in percentage of population with first COVID vaccine

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows 37 percent of Kansans have received one coronavirus shot. That’s just about 1.1 million people.

States across the country are showing very different results. New Hampshire is leading the way with half of its entire population receiving a vaccine. While Mississippi is lowest on the list with 27 percent of its population.

Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Lee Norman said he’s pleased with where the state is. He said multiple factors can impact the numbers.

“A lot of states don’t have a lot of rural areas and it’s much, much easier to put in mass vaccination centers in fewer spots and just grind them through. Other states that are rural, some haven’t paid as much attention to the rural communities and rural and frontier regions like we have,” Norman said.

There are a lot of numbers to pay attention to about vaccine distribution, but Norman said the most important one to pay attention to is how many people are getting their first shot.

“People get a terrific bump, an increase in their immunity even just after the first dose,” Norman said.

Though he does stress the importance of getting a follow-up shot if it is the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine.

Norman said the state is adapting and working to get shots to people as demand is different around Kansas.

He said some counties are making shots available without an appointment. He also said that there should be more doctor’s offices getting involved to give out shots in the coming weeks.

He said he believes at least 70 percent of Kansans will want a vaccine, but to get there, it’s important to tell people who are hesitant, for whatever reason, that now is the time to get one.

“We’re getting the message out and we’re doing a lot of surveying to know that by age, by gender, by political affiliations and the like that different people are more or less likely, and it does seem that younger people, 25 to 35, as a population, are fairly low, even though they can get the vaccine now,” Norman said. “But definitely the more conservative elements and Republicans are less likely to get it, and we’ll message this to everybody, we’ll vaccinate everybody.”

If people continue to put it off, experts worry the state would be vulnerable and could see another spike in cases like some states, similar to what Michigan and New York have seen.

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