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Rollout for COVID-19 vaccine booster begins in Kansas

Published: Sep. 27, 2021 at 7:08 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The rollout for COViD-19 booster shots has started in Kansas. On Monday, Sept. 27, the Reno County Health Department began offering a booster shot of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine. Sedgwick County also announced plans to start offering boosters Wednesday.

The booster shot is meant to provide people with some additional protection against COVID-19. The booster is for people who are beyond the six-month point from when they received their second doses of the Pfizer vaccine. While it’s been a slow start for the booster in Reno County, which was expected, Sedgwick County is expecting a large turnout when it begins administering boosters Wednesday.

“Booster doses of vaccines are common with many that we’ve been using for years,” said Dr. Keck Heckman with Infectious Disease Consultants.

After the approval of the Pfizer vaccine for boosters last week, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment said people who should get the additional shot include people who are 65 and older, regardless of whether they have medical conditions, residents in long-term care facilities and people in the 50 to 64-year-old age group with underlying conditions. And some, because of where they work, may face increased exposure to COVID-19. This includes healthcare workers, first responders, teachers, grocery store workers and staff at congregant settings.

“To reduce your chance of getting infected in the first place and to reduce your chance of even having mild symptoms from the infection,” Dr. Hartman explained.

To prepare for the expected number of people in Sedgwick County looking for a booster, the Sedgwick County Health Department is making some changes.

“(We’re) going back to online appointment scheduling only, and this is because of the anticipated volume we’re going to have,” Sedgwick County Health Director Adrienne Byrne said. “We’ll do walk-ins again in the future,” Byrne said.

The county will be opening its vaccine site at the former Central Library downtown for six days per week, starting Wednesday. Reno County on Monday made booster available at the county’s walk-in clinic.

“We have people here in town who received the Pfizer as some of the first doses and that would be those in the hospital settings, clinical settings, and then, as early as February, we had given quite a few to local teachers,” Reno County Health Department Director of Clinical Services Karen Hammersmith said.

Dr. Hartman said while boosters provide benefits on more of an individual basis, getting the unvaccinated fully vaccinated remains the central goal.

“That’s going to make a much, much bigger difference to our community as a whole in terms of containing this virus,” he said.

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