Sedgwick County considering options to expand COVID-19 vaccine clinics
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - In anticipation of more COVID-19 vaccine doses being available and trying to get more people vaccinated, Sedgwick County is considering a variety of options to expand its clinics. In the effort to get more people vaccinated, especially among underserved groups in the community, the Sedgwick County Health Department is working with a number of community partners. The department is also starting to look at potential partners to get the vaccine to areas with a higher need.
In the fight against COVID-19 and reaching more people, health officials in the county are turning to places of faith for assistance. For several months, Tabernacle Bible Church has served as a COVID-19 mobile testing site. Senior Pastor Lincoln Montgomery hopes that his church can become a future vaccination clinic.
“We stepped up to volunteer to do that, particularly to reach what would be traditionally underserved communities, i.e. African American, Hispanic, that a site probably within the community was going to be a little more accessible than say INTRUST (Bank Arena) or something else downtown,” Montgomery said.
For now, the county has two official vaccination sites, the former Central Library in downtown Wichita and the drive-thru clinic at the transit center on Waterman Street. Both locations require appointments.
If you’re 70 or older and want to book an appointment for a COVID-19 vaccine, you can schedule one on Sedgwick County’s website or call 316-660-1029.
Last week, Pastor Montgomery, 71, received his COVID-19 vaccine through Sedgwick County. He said he made one disturbing observation.
“I only saw three Black faces,” he said. “I was appreciative of the fact that people were determined to get that vaccine, but I was disheartened by the fact that again, the people who are disproportionately affected by the virus and who are disproportionately dying frim it in greater numbers were not present, perhaps to get a life-saving vaccine to thwart it.”
The CDC asks that as the vaccination program expands, public health officials ensure that the vaccine is administered efficiently and equitably, especially among those at highest risk for infection, many of whom are Black, Native American and Hispanic.
“We are vaccinating as fast as possible. We are following state guidelines. We are limited by the vaccine supply that we have, but definitely (are) working with partners, and more people will be vaccinated each week,” said Sedgwick County Deputy Health Director Chris Steward.
The county toured Tabernacle Bible Church, in the 1800 block of North Volutisa, earlier this month. Pastor Montgomery hopes more vaccine is made available soon so that his place of faith can step up to serve as a vaccination clinic.
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