Lack of inventory and money for COVID-19 vaccine creating challenges in Wyandotte County

January 28, 2021
In The News

Wyandotte County continues to vaccinate hundreds of people a day. But short supply and money to keep clinics going is a real challenge.

Dr. Marthel Parsons and her husband, 67-year-old Kansas State Rep. Louis Ruiz, are rolling up their sleeves to get the COVID-19 vaccine, hoping to set an example for the Latinx community.

“That was quick,” Ruiz said after being vaccinated.

In the past month, 7,500 vaccines have been given in a former KCK K-Mart turned clinic by the Wyandotte County Unified Government Public Health Department.

“Our main concern is the lack of inventory of the vaccine at this point,” said Juliann Van Liew, director at the Wyandotte County Health Department.

While this clinic has been incredibly successful, Wyandotte County says it will need even more support from its federal partners in order to get more vaccines into arms at two more clinics.

The health department’s peak shipment has been just shy of 2,000 doses a week. It’s a far cry from what’s needed to vaccinate the tens of thousands in the county who want this protection.

U.S. Representative Sharice Davids (Kan. D) wants to help.

“It’s frustrating to me to see the what feels like delays in these life and death decisions that are being made,” Davis said.

The Kansas Congresswoman toured the mass vaccination clinic Thursday, leaving a note of encouragement.

“The capacity to get the shot into people’s arms exists, now we have to make sure we’re actually getting the supply. And President Biden has started doing some of the things I’ve been calling on for a long time which is fully implement the defense production act,” Davids said.

The move is expected to help boost manufacturing and distribution of vaccine doses, syringes, and equipment needed for clinics like the one in KCK.

Davids insists the next step is passing President Joe Biden’s proposed COVID relief bill, which includes funding cities and counties need to keep operating vaccine facilities.

“Our economy cannot bounce back until folks are confident when they go out they’ll neither get nor give the virus,” said Kansas City, Kan. Mayor David Alvey.

The UG has two more clinics ready to go, one on the west side of the Legends Shopping Center and another on the county’s east side. It was hoping to get both open Monday, but until vaccine supply improves, it won’t be able to do that.