Riley County prepares to vaccinate people 65+, educators, first responders and more

Local News

MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNT) – The vaccine will soon be available to more Riley County residents as the county prepares for the second phase of their coronavirus vaccine distribution plan.

The Riley County Health Department has so far distributed vaccines to healthcare workers, residents and staff of long-term care facilities and emergency medical teams who wished to have it as part of its first phase.

“They’re pretty much… getting towards the end of that list,” said Manhattan City Commissioner Aaron Estabrook.

Protecting their older residents is the priority of the next steps of the vaccine distribution, Estabrook said.

“If you look at the people who have been impacted the most and lost their lives, they’re of that older age group,” Estabrook said. “So we want to make sure they’re able to get the vaccine.”

The department will begin vaccinating people in phase two next week, Estabrook said.

However, this does not line up with the state’s guidelines for county distribution. Earlier this month, Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Dr. Lee Norman said when counties complete phase one of the vaccine process, the extra vaccines should be distributed to other counties in need of them before they move on to phase two.

“One of the things that we feel very strongly about, and I guarantee you the federal government who is providing this feels… is very important is accounting for where the vaccine goes,” Norman said.

However, Estabrook said he and the county’s health officer have been in consistent communication with the state, and moving on to phase 2 is not against their wishes.

“We’re kind of in lockstep with them but we’re trying to execute it in a way that gets the most vulnerable taken care of,” Estabrook said.

The department received a second shipment of the vaccine last week, according to Estabrook.

While in phase 2, they will still continue to vaccinate anyone from phase 1 who needs it.

If you are interested in receiving the vaccine, you can sign up on the county’s website.

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