State has new plan to get vaccine reporting numbers up

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Numbers show Kansas communities are struggling to get coronavirus vaccines out, but state leaders say that’s not the case.

The Centers for Disease Control and the state’s numbers are showing different totals on how many shots are going into arms.

The state has acknowledged the problem for nearly four weeks, and has also been promising a fix. Beginning Monday, it’s making providers give daily snapshots on how many vaccines were administered. It will also implement simplified spreadsheets, and help providers plug in information online.

“We want to know how many vaccines the individual entity has received, how many they have on their shelf, and how many they’ve transferred,” said Marci Nielsen, the state’s chief advisor for COVID-19 coordination.

Nielsen said its important to track who vaccines are going to since each person gets two, in case there are any vaccine problems, and to monitor demographics.

Some have worried lots of vaccines are just sitting on shelves, but state leaders say that’s not the case.

State data shows 125,000 vaccines haven’t gone into arms, but leaders said they can account for about 70 percent of those. Improving reporting will help Kansas find out what’s happening to the rest.

Though the federal government hasn’t said it will punish states that aren’t tracking vaccines properly or are slow to distribute them, leaders want to make sure that’s not an option.

“That, we want to avoid at all costs, and so the governor has instructed us to fix this, both in the long term, but also in the short term,” Nielsen said.

Though a more accurate count of vaccines will start on Monday, it will take time to correct what has happened in past weeks before numbers show a big change.

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