Wednesday will mark the next installment of the Barton County Health Department’s ongoing COVID-19 vaccination clinic series, County Administrator Phil Hathcock told the County Commission Monday morning.
A total of 190 second doses will be available for those first vaccinated between Dec. 21 and Jan. 7 from 10 a.m. to noon, and 400 first doses will be available starting at 4 p.m. The drive-through clinics will take place at the Great Bend Expo complex west of town.
• Those needing their second shot were automatically put on a list to get it, but all shots (first and second doses) are given on a first-come-first-serve basis, he said. Should someone eligible for their second dose miss Wednesday’s clinic, Hathcock said they will automatically be put on the list for the next second-shot opportunity.
• Both those seeking their first and second doses will be admitted to the Expo Complex at the same time. But, the two groups will be segregated, with the first timers lining up and waiting on the south runway.
• If there are doses left over from those allocated for second shots, they will be reallocated for residents getting their first shots that day, he said.
• The manufacturer of the vaccine, Moderna, allows for the second dose 28 days after the first dose. The second shot can be given up to four days early, he said, but there is no time limit after the 28 days for it to be administered.
• As for first doses, eligible participants are based on KDHE guidance to vaccinate persons aged 65+, congregate settings and high-contact critical workers as outlined in Phase 2 of the Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly’s plan and only those individuals will be included in this event. Due to the limited number of vaccine doses Barton County has received, it is likely the event will end before 6:30 p.m. Barton County anticipates receiving more vaccine in the near future and will continue to host additional drive-through clinics as soon as possible.
• To expedite their vaccinations, eligible persons may visit www.bartoncounty.org to download and complete the vaccine consent form found under the COVID-19 tab. This step is recommended but not required.
What about vaccination reservations?
Hathcock was asked by commissioners about the status of an online sign-up portal or telephone hotline to make vaccination appointments. They had fielded concerns from constituents who can’t show up and wait in line for hours, due to job commitments or health issues.
“They would be better served with this,” Commission Chairman Jim Daily, District 4, said, noting people are waiting for these options.
“We’re working on it,” Hathcock said. In the meantime, “the drive-through with no appointments are working well.”
The county is also hoping to hold a clinic on a Saturday for those with work conflicts, Hathcock said. But, nothing has been planned as of yet.
How about those out-of-county plates?
District 3 Commissioner Shawn Hutchinson said he’s heard from constituents upset about out-of-county residents getting vaccinated in Barton County. Some counties, he said, are restricting doses to their residents.
“It’s real important we don’t stop at the county line,” Health Director Karen Winkelman said. The Health Department follows Kansas Department of Health and Environment guidelines in vaccinating whoever comes through the line, regardless of where their from.
She said policies vary from county to county. But, “anything we can do to help people helps multiple people.”
Besides, 5% or fewer of the vaccines go to those from outside Barton County, she said. And, some of those may actually work in Barton County.
Ultimately, it is a federally subsidized vaccine, and they really can’t turn anyone away, she said.