TOPEKA (KSNT)– The push to get shots into more arms continues across the country and in Kansas, as coronavirus cases surge.
Joseph Rogers, a manager at Stormont Vail Pharmacy in Topeka, said he’s seeing an uptick in people coming in. Rogers said third doses are in high demand with people who are immunocompromised rushing to get their shot as the highly contagious delta variant spreads.
“We did see a large increase in patients looking for their COVID shot,” Rogers said. “I think that it has to do with school getting back in session and just the increased activity of the variant here.”
Delta variant cases are nearing a new high in the state. As of Friday, state data shows 2,724 cases have been identified in Kansas. According to health officials, the variant is more than twice as infectious as other strains of the virus and could be responsible for increased spread.
More people are getting sick as hospitals in the state reach max capacity. Governor Laura Kelly, held a press conference with doctors at St. Luke’s Hospital in Overland Park on Friday, sounding an alarm as the mounting pressure on hospitals in the state becomes more severe.
“Our hospitals are being stretched to the max,” Kelly said. “Our counties are running low on resources to fight the virus.”
Intensive care units at six of the state’s largest hospitals have reached full capacity and nearly two-thirds are coronavirus patients.
Other hospitals in the state are nearing the same fate. On Wednesday, the governor said hospitals saw the highest amount of coronavirus patients since the pandemic began.
So far, CDC data shows, 46.9% of the state’s total population has been fully vaccinated. The governor and health officials are urging people to get a coronavirus vaccine to stop the virus from spreading.
Some immunocompromised Kansans are following suit getting a third dose to help build their immune response after the first two doses.
According to the state’s health department about 70,000 Kansans fall under the “immunocompromised” category in the state. In Kansas, that’s defined through the “moderate or severe immunocompromised” standards set by the Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.
For Kansans like Sharon Frost, an office supervisor at Stormont Vail Pharmacy, who’s been receiving cancer treatments for the past several months, that third shot can be a lifesaver.
“It was a pretty easy decision,” Frost said. “Because I’m still learning how to live through the chemo, the weak days.”
Frost got her third shot on Friday and was joined by her husband. She said they’re taking steps to stay safe, protecting their family and friends, and encouraging others to do the same.
“I wish that people would take this seriously and lets all help protect each other,” Frost said.