TOPEKA, Kan. – What a difference a month makes.
In March, we took Gov. Laura Kelly and her administration to task for the pace of vaccinations against COVID-19 in Kansas. We said that more people should be able to access the shots, and that the pace should be picked up.
Thankfully, the situation seems to be getting markedly better.
“Right now, the state ranks 33th in doses administered per capita, at 50,135 doses administered per 100,000 people.” The Topeka Capital-Journal reported. “It’s an improvement over the earlier days of the vaccine rollout, when Kansas was nearly last, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“In another sign of progress, Kansas is 10th in the percentage of vaccinated seniors, at about 80%. Only 12 other states have at least 80% of seniors vaccinated.”
First, we want to acknowledge and applaud this progress. The coronavirus pandemic has been defined by rapidly changing circumstances, and what seems like the best practice only a few months ago can become hopelessly outdated. State officials have adjusted on the fly and improved the situation.
Second, this underscores the wisdom of prioritizing seniors in the vaccine rollout. They have been the most at risk of serious complications from the virus, so we should be justifiably proud of that 80% rate.
But our work is so far from done.
If you qualify for a shot right now — and right now, that should be everyone over the age of 16 in Kansas — you should get one. Shots are available in many counties, through public health departments and pharmacies.
The current crop of COVID-19 vaccines are near-miracles. Not only are they stunningly effective against the virus that circulated last year, but the latest evidence shows they also protect against the recent variants. They are our one sure way out of this mess, and you should do your civic duty by receiving one.
Finally, keep at the basic public safety measures we’ve all become familiar with. Wear a mask in public. Keep a responsible distance from others and avoid crowded indoor spaces. These preventative steps work against all varieties of the virus, and they’re crucial to slowing spread as vaccines roll out across the state and country.
This isn’t forever, as the saying goes. But it is for right now.
We must stay clear eyed and focused on public and personal health. The state of Kansas has stepped up and done better. So must the rest of us.