TOPEKA, Kan.– The Shawnee County Health Department shared details Friday on its plan to quickly start vaccinating local education staff in Phase 2.
“In addition to vaccinating people 65 and older, starting on Monday, February 15th, the Shawnee County Health Department will be collaborating with Stormont Vail Health and The University of Kansas St. Francis Campus to begin administering the vaccine to K-12 faculty and staff, both public and private schools, with the goal of having a first dose to all staff interested in Shawnee County before spring break. This includes teachers, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, and all others employed by K-12 schools. Specific details for vaccination timeframes and scheduling will be communicated directly with each of the districts and schools that has requested vaccinations through this collaborative operation.”
Health officials are giving notice to all area schools as an effort to vaccinate before spring break rolls out. Spokeswoman Erika Hall for Topeka Public Schools confirmed the health department will have teachers start their vaccine appointments at the beginning of the week.
“We just got notification that we will begin vaccinations on Monday less than an hour ago,” Hall said. “We are notifying staff and will hopefully have more information about the scheduling process soon.”
Stormont Vail and St. Francis are both directly contacting area school districts now to schedule their first appointments for Monday, according to the health department.
“We are thrilled to be part of the partnership between Stormont Vail, Shawnee County Health Department and The University of Kansas St. Francis Campus to begin vaccinating the staff and faculty of our community schools,” said Robert Kenagy, president and CEO of Stormont Vail Health. “These individuals are part of Phase 2 in the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s Vaccination Phase for the crucial role they play in our community. These vaccines will support the overall health of our community and our children to be educated in a safe environment.
Education staff will go to the Stormont Vail Health COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic located at the Stormont Vail Events Center to get the vaccine. The department detailed that Phase 2 still includes vaccinating seniors 65 and older, but it is now also focusing on getting shots to teachers. It will use its vaccine allocation to vaccinate education staff for schools for kindergarten through 12th grade. Dillons, Walmart and Doug’s Pharmacy will also start getting weekly allotments to vaccinate seniors 65 years and older.
“Those 65 and older will continue to receive vaccine[s],” said Dr. Erin Locke, Shawnee County Health Officer. “It is essential to vaccinate our older adult and high-exposure citizens to increase immunity where it is needed most in our county. I encourage everyone in Shawnee County to continue to wear a mask and keep your distance to help protect the most vulnerable while we continue vaccinations.”