Governor Kelly releases updated COVID-19 vaccine priority groups

Coronavirus

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Governor Laura Kelly held a news conference Thursday to give an update on the vaccine distribution in Kansas.

Gov. Kelly and Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Dr. Lee Norman showed two posters detailing the Kansas Vaccination Phases.

The first phase includes healthcare workers; residents or patients in long-term care, senior housing or independent living; and workers critical to pandemic response continuity. This phase is already underway.

KSNT Photo/Alec Gartner

State leaders said vaccine distribution is going well in the state, and that reporting is what is keeping numbers low.

The Centers for Disease Control shows Kansas has had 36,000 vaccinations, while the state’s own numbers show 45,000. But Norman said that the real number could be closer to two times higher than what’s being reported.

“People are not sitting on the vaccine and keeping it in storage, they’re giving it into people’s arms,” Norman said.

Kelly said they expect to be finished with Phase 1 by the end of the month and will then move to Phase 2. That next phase includes people aged 65 and older, congregate settings and high-contact critical workers.

High-contact critical workers include:

  • Firefighters, police officers, first responders, and correction officers
  • Grocery store workers and food services
  • K-12 and childcare workers, including teachers, custodians, drivers, and other staff
  • Food processing, including meat processing plants
  • Large-scale aviation manufacturing plants
  • Transportation workers
  • Workers in retail, agriculture, supply of critical services or materials for COVID-19 response, the U.S. Postal Service, and Department of motor vehicles

Congregated settings include:

  • Homeless shelters
  • Congregate childcare institutions
  • Emergency shelters or safe houses
  • Corrections facilities
  • Behavioral health institutions

Phase 3 includes people aged 16-64 with severe medical risks:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Down Syndrome
  • Heart conditions like cardiomyopathies
  • Immunocompromised state from solid organ transplant
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Pregnant patients

and other critical workers:

  • Agricultural and food workers not included in previous phases
  • Workers performing in-person activities indoors, in critical manufacturing, not included in previous phases. This includes aviation and production of critical supplies for the COVID response
  • Utility workers
  • Social service and government workers not included in previous phases
  • Logistics workers, such as truck transportation workers, couriers and others
  • Water and wastewater workers
  • Shelter and housing workers, finance workers
  • Information technology and communications workers

Phase 4 includes people aged 16-64 with other medical risks, and Phase 5 includes the rest of the population aged 16 and up.

Those medical risks include:

  • Asthma
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Immunocompromised state from blood or bone marrow transplant, immune deficiencies, or use of immune weakening medicines
  • Neurologic conditions such as dementia
  • Liver disease
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Obesity and severe obesity
KSNT Photo/Alec Gartner

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine in Kansas, you can go to kansasvaccine.gov.

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