The COVID-19 vaccine is still trickling into Labette County and is being directed to those age 65 and older and into schools.
That is what will happen with the 300 doses of the Moderna vaccine received this week at the Labette County Health Department. Health Department Administrator Lisa Hoppock said her staff has been partnering with the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas and Labette Health in distributing and administering vaccine.
Hoppock said of this week’s 300 doses, the Health Department kept 100 doses and transferred 200 to the hospital to be distributed at its Chetopa, Oswego and Altamont clinics.
“This was done to help residents in those towns that may have transportation issues or not able to come to Parsons,” Hoppock said. “We have a waiting list, and it’s my understanding that those clinics do as well and are working off those lists.”
The Health Department and the hospital have been targeting citizens age 65 and older.
Robert Poole, communication and marketing director for the CHC-SEK, said CHC staff gave first doses of the vaccine to Labette County USD 506 schools on Friday after receiving vaccine from the Health Department. CHC has not yet received its own doses of COVID vaccine, he said.
“Staff also made a few house calls to individuals older than age 65 when extra doses have been available,” Poole said.
CHC staff are giving second doses of the vaccine this week, including at Labette Center for Mental Health Services, he said.
CHC is also assisting the Montgomery County Health Department with vaccine administration in schools. And, CHC had staff assisting the Cherokee County Health Department with its drive-thru vaccine clinic Wednesday.
Poole said CHC has received requests from Parsons companies for vaccine for employees. Unfortunately, CHC does not have vaccine at the time to accommodate these requests.
On Tuesday, the Biden administration announced intentions to start shipping vaccine directly to community health centers across the country, Poole said. This will start with a few health centers and gradually ramp up.
“No word yet when we will be supplied, but we are anxiously waiting,” Poole said.
Brian Williams, Labette Health CEO, said the hospital is working with health departments in Labette, Neosho and Montgomery counties in administering vaccine.
“Basically, right now the distribution in Kansas is through the county health departments, and we are all working to assist in any way that we can,” Williams said.
A Kansas City TV station reported Tuesday that certain Walmart pharmacies would receive vaccine doses on Friday and that the company offered an online signup option for the public to make appointments. Walmart stores in Parsons, Coffeyville and Pittsburg are listed as distribution sites. However, an attempt to check on vaccine availability created an error on the site, which has this message: “The COVID-19 vaccine scheduler is currently experiencing technical issues we are diligently engaged in resolving. We will communicate once it is fully functioning again.”
The website is https://www.walmart.com/cp/1228302.
The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has a webpage dedicated to the COVID-19 vaccine, kansasvaccine.gov. You can check on vaccine distribution in the state and find vaccine providers near you by ZIP code (https://www.kansasvaccine.gov/160/Find-My-Vaccine). In Labette County, providers are the Health Department, Labette Health Internal Medicine/Pediatrics Clinic and Labette Health Family Practice Clinic. So far, only the Health Department has vaccine.