TOPEKA, Kan. – Kansas is opening COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to more people.
Gov. Laura Kelly announced Monday that Phases 3 and 4 will be combined, and the state will advance to those phases next week Monday, March 22. Those phases include people aged 16 to 64 with medical risks, and critical workers not included in Phase 2. State officials say Phases 3 and 4 included about 600,000 people. Individuals between ages 16 and 64 with a preexisting medical condition and other non-healthcare workers in critical infrastructure will now be eligible for vaccination.
Kelly made the announcement after touring a vaccination center at Stormont Vail Events Center in Topeka. She said the state expects increases supplies in two weeks. She said they want to give counties a week to prepare for increased eligibility, and finishing Phase 2.
The state has faced criticism from some counties for not allowing those who’ve completed Phase 2 to advance to the next phases ahead of the rest of the state.
“Thanks to an increased supply in vaccine, Kansas will begin vaccinating individuals who qualify in either Phase 3 or Phase 4 on March 22,” Governor Kelly said. “This expedited timeline will allow Kansans to get back to work, back to school, and back to a more normal way of life. I urge all Kansans to do their part by getting vaccinated when it is their turn and continuing to follow the public health guidance, so we can return back to normal.”
Kansas is expecting a significant increase in doses, saying that they will receive some 100,000 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine week after next. There will be smaller increases in Pfizer and Moderna’s shipments. The governor says her administration is determined to vaccinate every Kansan who wants to be vaccinated, as quickly as possible. As of last week, there were more than 1,400 vaccination sites registered with the state. Not all were active at that time because there weren’t enough doses–however, they expect to activate them to meet the need.
Kansans now eligible to be vaccinated include:
• Those aged 16 through 64 with conditions that increase the risk for severe illness from COVID-19, including: cancer; down syndrome; certain heart conditions; Type 1 & 2 diabetes; pregnancy; asthma; cystic fibrosis; liver disease; neurological conditions like dementia; and other medical risks. And other non-health-care workers in critical infrastructure who cannot work remotely, including: agricultural and food workers not included in previous phases; workers performing in-person activities indoors; utility workers; social service and government workers not included in previous phases; Logistics workers, such as truck transportation workers and couriers; water and wastewater workers; shelter, housing, and finance workers; and information technology and communication workers.
The announcement was made a week early to give counties with vaccination events already planned, an opportunity to finish vaccinating Kansans in Phases 1 and 2. It also will allow providers time to prepare and notify those who are now eligible in the newly combined Phase 3 and 5. The state expects to move into the final phase of vaccinations no later than May 1, 2021.
Governor Kelly announced that the state will activate more providers to complete vaccinations and also work with the federal government to set up mass vaccination sites in Kansas.
If you need help to identify if you are eligible in the newly combined Phases 3 and 4, contact your local health department. You can also use the “Find My Vaccine” mapping tool at KansasVaccine.Gov to locate a vaccine provider.
Click to view the updated COVID-19 Vaccine Prioritization plan in English.
Counties will still determine how they will move through the combined Phase 3 and 4. Shawnee County sent out a news release shortly after the governor’s news conference with the following guidance:
· Monday, March 22, 2021 – Shawnee County will expand vaccination to persons aged 16-64 with medical risks that increase the severity of COVID-19 (see below).
· Monday, April 12, 2021 – Shawnee County will expand vaccination to all individuals eligible through Phase 4; including critical workers who cannot work remotely.