By Travis MountsTSnews
Kansas is now making the COVID-19 vaccine available to residents ages 16 and older. The change took effect on Monday, and was announced by Gov. Laura Kelly last Friday.“With the anticipated increase in supply from the federal government, we must get every dose of vaccine into arms quickly,” Kelly said. “I strongly encourage every Kansan to get the COVID-19 vaccine so we can get back to school, back to work, and back to normal.”With that news, Sedgwick County said it is now making appointments for any local resident at least 16 years old. The Pfizer vaccine is approved for people ages 16 and older, while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are for those 18 and older. A vaccine for children has yet to be authorized.Sedgwick County is currently providing the Pfizer vaccine. The county is providing vaccinations at the old Wichita Public Central Library location, at 223 S. Main. This is located just east of Century II.Schedule your appointment with Sedgwick County online at www.sedgwickcounty.org/covid-19/vaccine/schedule/. If you have a severe medical risk, you can schedule an appointment at the drive-through clinic by calling 316-660-1029.Sumner County moved into Phases 3 and 4 of the vaccination plan this week, following state guidance, and will move into Phase 5 next week. The next vaccination clinics are this week Wednesday and Thursday at the Raymond Frye Complex at 320 N. Jefferson Ave., Wellington. Appointments for next week can be made starting next Monday. Call 620-326-5046.Sumner County has been holding its clinics weekly on Wednesday and Thursday, with appointments becoming available on Monday of the same week.The number of appointments in both counties has been based on the number of vaccine doses available. The state is reaching a point where vaccine supply has been matching or exceeding the demand, which helped lead the State into Phase 5.Sedgwick County Commissioners were pushing the state to allow the county to move into Phase 5 of the vaccination plan after a new pending State law increased pressure on counties and cities to drop their local mask mandates and gathering restrictions. County leaders said that removing those restrictions while many parts of the population were still unable to get vaccinated created potential health risks.Kansas is the eighth state to make the vaccine available to all adults, joining Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Utah, and West Virginia.Local pharmacies now offering vaccinations include Cheney Pharmacy, Clearwater Pharmacy, and Freeman Pharmacy in Conway Springs.As of March 26, 35.1 percent of the adult population in Kansas had received at least one dose of the vaccine.Even with mask mandates coming to an end, health personnel and elected officials continue to strongly recommend wearing masks and observing social distancing. This week, Kansas saw an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases and the number of deaths. It was the first increase in a month. New variants of the disease are concerning health officials, who say the variants are more contagious and may be more lethal for younger adults.
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