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COVID vaccines come through county
Health Department allocates extra doses to hospitals
covid vaccinations
Pictured is a Barton County drive-through COVID-19 vaccination clinic on Jan. 22. March 31 clinic will be held at Brit Spaugh Park. The location is changing from Expo III before the Great Bend Farm, Ranch and Hemp Expo comes to town in April.

For now, all COVID-19 vaccinations coming into Barton County are funneled through the Health Department, County Administrator Phil Hathcock said. This includes those administered during the county’s drive-through events and those given at local hospitals.

Hathcock said the county’s first priority is its weekly clinics. Should the Health Department receive excess doses, they are allocated to health-care providers.

But, he stressed, there is no guarantee doses will be available and, if so, how many.

The county receives its allocation through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. These inoculations have been given during the weekly drive-through clinics at the Great Bend Expo Complex.

However, the bout of severe winter weather held up the shipment last week. So, the county received double the doses this week, allowing for some to be doled out to health-care facilities, with 200 going to each of the three hospitals in the county.

Clara Barton Hospital in Hoisington was glad to see this, said Public Relations Director Sydney Dolezal. They offered a drive-through clinic Thursday at the Hoisington Activities Center.

“It went really well,” Dolezal said. Clara Barton appreciated working with the Health Department, whose personnel gave the vaccinations.

“We have a huge waiting list,” she said. They hope more doses will become available.

The story is the same at Ellinwood District Hospital, said EDH Foundation Director Lindsey Bogner. After the Health Department sent 200 doses to Ellinwood, EDH gave theirs out in three hours on Thursday.

They contacted people on their waiting list and key businesses, and quickly used up the allocation, she said. Those shots were also given by Health Department staff.

University of Kansas Health System Great Bend Campus held its clinic Thursday at Grace Community Church so there was room for social distancing. Officials said it went smoothly and they appreciated working with the Health Department.

A big need

Both Dolezal and Bogner said if they had more doses, they could use them. This may become possible.

At the county’s clinic Wednesday afternoon, the supply of vaccine had not been depleted when the last vehicle came through. The Health Department posted this on social media so more people could come. They were able to give out the last of their doses without people having to wait. 

Kansas remains in the second phase of Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s vaccine rollout plan that encompasses a broad range of folks – from those in congregate settings to those 65 and older to front-line workers, ranging from teachers to farm workers. The KDHE will announce when the state moves to Phase 3, which includes those 16-64 with severe medical risks and other critical workers.

In the meantime, Dolezal said people can call Clara Barton at 620-653-2114 to get on their list. Or, there is a link on their website

People can call Ellinwood District Hospital at 620-564-2548, Bogner said.

For UKHS in Great Bend, call 620-792-8833.

Be on time

University of Kansas Health System operates the UKHS Great Bend Campus and Pavilion in Great Bend, and Pawnee Valley Hospital in Larned.

David Wild, MD, vice president of Performance Improvement at UKHS, explained how the vaccine gets from the manufacturer to your arm. He said the health system knows by Friday of each week how many doses of the vaccine will arrive the following week, usually by Monday or Tuesday, and works hard to get them all distributed within seven days. 

He said it’s important to arrive at the appointed time for your vaccination and not hours early as some have done, worried the clinic might run out. He assured us that everyone who has an appointment has a dose waiting for them. He explained that bringing someone without an appointment hoping to get them vaccinated as well “gummed up the system” at a recent clinic as staff had to take time to explain why they didn’t have enough for those without appointments. He also reminded everyone that wherever you got your first dose is the place you will go for your second dose.