Riley County hopes to move to phase 3 of the vaccine plan in 2 weeks

Coronavirus

RILEY COUNTY, Kan. (KSNT) – Riley County health officials said Tuesday they hope to be done with phase 2 of the coronavirus vaccine plan by the end of next week.

For the last few weeks, Riley County has been vaccinating people that fall under phase 2, which includes first responders, people 65 and older, k-12 teachers and school staff, childcare providers, and the homeless population.

Phase 2 also includes high contact critical workers like grocery store and retail employees, as well as those that work in the food service industry.

Julie Gibbs, Director of the Riley County Health Department, explained that sorting through who qualifies and who doesn’t under the high contact critical worker category could slow down the county’s ability to vaccinate those under 65 with underlying health issues.

This is why Gibbs said they’ve eliminated the high contact critical workers category in phase 2, allowing the county to move on much sooner than expected to phase 3. Allowing those with medical conditions between the ages of 16-64 eligible to receive the vaccine.

“We never want to leave doses on the shelves, we always want to get those vaccines into arms so if we have them, we will move forward,” Gibbs said.

On Tuesday, the health department posted on social media saying anyone 65 and older could get a vaccine without an appointment until 4 p.m. at the city’s CiCo Park. Gibbs said the reason for the last-minute announcement stemmed from a lot of people canceling their COVID shot appointments.

With shots and staff available, it allowed Linda McDonnell from Manhattan to finally receive her first shot.

“I came in here, they were as kind as can be, fill out the paperwork, follow the blue x’s, they made it as easy as can be and it didn’t take 5 minutes,” McDonnell said.

Gibbs said anyone who falls under the phase 3 category should fill out the Riley County Health Department’s survey now to be notified when it is their turn.

To access that survey, CLICK HERE.

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