May 3—With over 10,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in Barton County and over a third of the county residents fully vaccinated, Health Director Karen Winkelman told the County Commission Monday morning that it is still not the time to drop our guard.
"I think we have to remember that we still need to take precautions," she said. "We have to remember that no vaccine is 100%."
Be they for COVID or chickenpox, the shots are critical. "If it can lessen the symptoms, prevent the hospitalization, it is very important," she said.
Meanwhile, her office continues to provide the vaccine every day on a walk-in basis. If one prefers, individuals can call and schedule a specific day, but since the health department has other walk-in services, patients are not given specific times.
Anyone who has have difficulty getting out of a vehicle can request someone to come to them, Winkelman said. Also, home visits are being made.
This Saturday, vaccines will be available at the Cinco de Mayo festival from 9 a.m. to noon on the Courthouse Square. The health department will be working out of the mobile unit on the east side of the courthouse.
By the numbers
Last week, the Health Department administered 306 doses of Moderna vaccine, an increase of 10% for prime doses. They administered 15 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
This brings the total number of jabs in the county to 10,072.
KDHE is reporting that 38.4% of Kansans are vaccinated.
For Barton county's total population, 31.5% has been vaccinated.
If they look at the eligible population in Barton County (age 16 and above), it is at 39.84% with at least one dose, and 34.09% fully vaccinated.
The county is at a 79% administration rate of the vaccine allocated. The county has had to waste very little of the vaccine it has received.
Two active positive cases are currently in isolation. There is one active quarantine recommendation at this time.
With the two positives, the county has confirmed 2,505 positive cases.
The department continues to administer COVID tests.
The county still has an adequate supply of Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines at this time. Johnson and Johnson was paused for a short time, while more research was being done regarding rare blood clots, but the federal government lifted the ban on April 23 and Kansas lifted it April 26, and they immediately resumed using the vaccine.
Barton County had given 498 of the J&J doses. And, she said no serious complications to any of the vaccinations have been reported.
Winkelman is not aware of any of the variants have been identified in Barton County.
They are still waiting for the approval to use the Pfizer vaccine for 12 years of age and older. Right now, it is approved for age 16 and older.
An order-based system
As of last Thursday, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has moved away from an allocation-based system to an order-based system, Winkelman said. Counties can now order what type of vaccine they want and how many doses they need with no minimum requirement.
So on Thursday, Winkelman placed an order for 60 Pfizer vaccine doses so they can start capturing those between 16 and 18. There's a shorter storage life on that, two weeks, so she has started a sign-up list with about 12 individuals wanting that. They will continue to provide it as people request.