New tool shows how many people are vaccinated in your zip code
WICHITA, Kan. – The Sedgwick County Health Department launched a new tool that shows how many people have been vaccinated in your zip code. The county started sharing this information Monday, May 10 on its COVID-19 dashboard. The health department said the new tool will help to pinpoint what areas need more outreach.
Sedgwick County Health Director Adrienne Byrne said not only will the map help the community be informed, it will let the health department know what areas need more shots in people’s arms.
“Prior to having this, we already know what zip codes are more vulnerable, have less access to healthcare, and this just helps us even more to know what area we can go to offer services,” Byrne said.
While some larger cities in the country report that some of their zip codes are reaching herd immunity, it’s different for Sedgwick County.
“It just depends on where people work and where people are traveling,” said KU School of Medicine-Wichita Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine/Center for Clinical Research Director Dr. Tiffany Schwasinger-Schmidt, “That’s why it becomes really hard to estimate herd immunity and being able to say it’s safe.”
Dr. Schwasinger-Schmidt said travel between places is what makes it more difficult for communities to reach herd immunity.
“There’s counties where a lot of people are getting vaccinated. That’s a safer place to be, but remember, again there is that travel between those counties. So just because the counties have reached 70 percent, 80 percent, 90 percent, doesn’t’ mean that it’s completely safe and that we can take off our masks, that we can go to concerts and things like that without our risk of getting COVID,” she said.
Looking at the big picture from a local perspective, Byrne said the county is continuing to work on getting more people vaccinated in areas with lower rates.