Doctors urge parents to have kids vaccinated against COVID-19

Doctors at a Monday morning news conference urged parents to have their children vaccinated against COVID-19.

Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control at the University of Kansas Health System, said children can still spread COVID-19, and he urged parents of 12-to-15-year-olds to get their children COVID-19 vaccines.

Dr. Hawkinson’s children, ages 14 and 12, received their COVID-19 vaccines on Monday morning on camera during the news conference.

Dr. Hawkinson said the vaccines are safe, there is no concern about shedding the virus, there is no infertility caused by them, and the vaccines will not give people the COVID-19 illness. The vaccines are also very efficacious at protecting against the disease, he said.

According to the doctors, children as young as 2 might be approved to get the vaccine several months in the future.

Dr. Hawkinson noted that COVID-19 cases were down to nine active cases, with 10 in recovery, on Monday at the KU Health System.

Dr. Steve Stites, chief medical officer, said that case rates are starting to fall across the U.S., and he believes it is because of vaccinations.

Parts of the world do not have enough vaccine, with some having a shortage of hospital space. Dr. Hawkinson advocated for getting vaccine to other countries, as well as getting the U.S. vaccinated.

Dr. Stites said the CDC system is an honor system, and the new CDC guidance allowing people not to wear masks does not apply to the unvaccinated, and they should stay masked. Those who have not been vaccinated are very likely to get the virus, transmit the virus and injure others, he said.

Dr. Hawkinson said for children, the Pfizer vaccine has only been approved for 12 and older for a short time, and most are unvaccinated. Studies that show less spread in the schools are the result of mitigation strategies including masking and distancing, he said.

It might be August or September before children younger than 12 can be approved for vaccines, according to the doctors. July would be better, Dr. Hawkinson said, to give children time to get vaccines before school starts.

The doctors also discussed people making the transition from working at home to working at the office. Dr. Jovanna Rohs, director of early learning with the Mid-America Regional Council, said companies have been offering flexible work hours and adjusting for workers with children. It has helped when the companies plan opportunities to connect, such as chatting through video.

Free vaccinations available Tuesday

Free walk-in COVID-19 vaccinations will be available for everyone 12 and older from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 18, at the former Kmart, 7836 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas; and the former Best Buy, 10500 Parallel Parkway, Kansas City, Kansas. People also can schedule vaccinations at

The Kansas National Guard Armory, 100 S. 20th, Kansas City, Kansas, will be closed on Tuesday.

The schedule of vaccinations changed recently. To see the new schedule and more information about vaccinations, visit or

The Health Department will be doing more mobile vaccinations, and people may request vaccines to be given at different sites in the community by going to and clicking on “mobile vaccine request.” People also may request a ride to vaccination sites on the same page.

UG Health Department vaccinations are now open to people from other counties and states. People may walk in for vaccinations or can schedule them.

Those who wish to schedule an appointment may use the Health Department’s self-scheduling tool at and click on a blue button that says, “Click here to schedule an appointment online.” The page is available in Spanish by clicking at the top of the page. Walk-in appointments also are welcome.

Those who don’t have an internet connection may call 3-1-1 or 913-573-5311 for assistance in scheduling their vaccination appointment time and date.
To see more information about Health Department vaccinations and next week’s schedule, visit

Other sites available for vaccination

Vaccinations at KU Health System are open to the public. Current patients may use MyChart to make an appointment. Others may call 913-588-1227 or visit to make an appointment to get vaccinated. KU Health System currently is vaccinating residents of Kansas and Missouri who are 12 or older, by appointment only. Those under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian throughout the appointment.

There are also pharmacies giving free COVID-19 vaccinations in Wyandotte County by appointment, when available. These include Price Chopper and Hen House pharmacies, which are now also accepting walk-in vaccinations or appointments, and are starting vaccinations for age 12 and up at those pharmacies that are giving Pfizer vaccine (see

CVS has announced walk-in appointments for COVID-19 vaccine at some of its stores. Those interested in getting a vaccination at a CVS pharmacy are asked to visit a CVS website in order to make sure there is vaccine available. The website is at Walgreens and Walmart also were listed on as giving vaccinations.

Other pharmacies and sites giving vaccines are listed at

Case numbers reported

The University of Kansas Health System reported that COVID-19 inpatients have dropped since Friday. Nine persons with the active virus were being treated on Monday morning, a decrease of six from Friday, according to Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control. Four of those patients were in the intensive care unit, a decrease of seven since Friday. One of those patients was on a ventilator, a decrease of seven from Friday. There were an additional 10 patients still hospitalized because of COVID-19, but out of the acute infection phase, a decrease of one since Friday. There were a total of 19 COVID-19 patients, a decrease of seven since Friday.

Wyandotte County reported an increase of 19 COVID-19 cases on Monday, May 17, for a cumulative 18,652 cases, according to the Unified Government Health Department’s COVID-19 webpage. There was a cumulative total of 292 deaths reported, no change.

The Mid-America Regional Council’s COVID-19 dashboard reported 172,688 cumulative COVID-19 cases, an increase of 510. The daily average of new hospitalizations was 52.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported 312,074 cumulative COVID-19 cases in Kansas on Monday, May 17, an increase of 369 cases since Friday, May 14. There were a total cumulative 5,040 deaths reported statewide, an increase of two.

Johnson County had a cumulative 58,676 cases, an increase of 177 since Friday, according to the KDHE. Leavenworth County had a cumulative 7,237 cases, an increase of five since Friday. Sedgwick County had a cumulative 56,838 cases, an increase of 68 since Friday.

The Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard on Monday night reported 32,994,339 cumulative COVID-19 cases in the United States, with 586,359 total deaths reported nationwide. There were 16,864 new cases nationwide and 262 new deaths nationwide.
States with the highest number of new cases were Florida, 2,482; New York, 1,854; Illinois, 1,260; Pennsylvania, 846; and Minnesota, 805.
Countries with the highest number of new cases were India, 281,386; Brazil, 40,709; U.S., 16,864; Argentina, 16,350; and Colombia, 15,093, according to Johns Hopkins information.

Free testing available Tuesday

Free COVID-19 testing will be available from 8 a.m. to noon Tuesday, May 18, at All Saints parish, 811 Vermont Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. The testing is in conjunction with Vibrant Health and the Wyandotte County Health Equity Task Force. Appointments are not necessary.

Free COVID-19 testing will be available from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 18, at the former Kmart store, 7836 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas; and at the former Best Buy store, 10500 Parallel Parkway, Kansas City, Kansas. For information about UG Health Department COVID-19 testing sites and hours, visit To see if there is any change to the schedule, visit Appointments are not needed.

One of the WellHealth sites for free COVID-19 testing is open beginning at 8 a.m. Tuesday, May 18, at Lowe’s at 6920 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. Appointments are required. For more information, to see other testing sites and to make an appointment, visit

The Health Department’s general contact page is at The department’s Facebook page is at

Testing sites are at There are more test sites listed on this page.

Saliva testing is now offered at the UG Health Department. For more information, visit

The University of Kansas Health System COVID-19 update page is at

A vaccine report for the state of Kansas is at

Information about the mask ordinance passed April 29, which loosened restrictions in Wyandotte County, is online at The new mask order is online at

The KDHE’s COVID-19 webpage is at

The KC Region COVID-19 Hub dashboard is at

The Wyandotte County page on the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 website is at

The Johns Hopkins Data in Motion, a presentation on critical COVID-19 data in the past 24 hours, is at

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