Extra efforts being made to convince people to get vaccinated

As many as 750,000 people in Kansas could be vaccine-hesitant, and the Kansas Beats the Virus campaign is training people in how to respond to their concerns.

According to Ed O’Malley, president of the Kansas Leadership Center, which started the Kansas Beats the Virus group, it might not be easy to convince some people to get the vaccine. What works, according to O’Malley, is to create conditions where people convince themselves. He talked about the effort during a media update Wednesday morning at the University of Kansas Health System.

Debating or lecturing people doesn’t work, but helping people understand the research or who else has taken the vaccine usually works, according to O’Malley. His group is training neighborhood leaders and influential people in techniques that work.

People always have reasons for their beliefs and too often others don’t take the time to try to understand those beliefs, O’Malley said.

O’Malley said he thinks the new CDC guidelines saying only the unvaccinated need to wear masks sent a message that COVID-19 is over and that has made the job to mobilize people much harder.

Julia Fabris McBride, project lead for Kansas Beats the Virus, said it works when people hear from others they know and trust, and not from a government official telling them what to do.

The group has a goal of 500 action projects by Aug. 1, but it’s harder now to get people to feel the same sense of urgency they felt in December, she said.

McBride said many unvaccinated people don’t know the vaccine is free and worry about missing work if they get sick from the vaccine side effects.

To get started on helping the community, go to the Kansas Leadership Center website, https://kansasbeatsthevirus.org/ to sign up. They will provide a project facilitator and if needed, there is grant money available to help local projects get started.

Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control at The University of Kansas Health System, said the low number of patients at the health system is proof that vaccinations work. He said those worried about myocarditis, or inflammation of the heart in some young people, should not worry about it being caused by the vaccine.

He also feels mask wearing in health care facilities is here to stay for now because it works and said masking in schools may still be needed until those under 12 can get vaccinated. He reiterated that the way out of the pandemic is for as many people to get vaccinated as possible.

Free walk-in vaccinations available

The Kansas National Guard Armory, 100 S. 20th, (near 18th and Ridge), will be open for free walk-in vaccinations for everyone 12 and older from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, June 10. The vaccines are through the Unified Government Health Department.

People may also schedule vaccinations at WycoVaccines.org. Residents may request rides to the vaccination clinic through a form on the same website.

The Unified Government Health Department vaccination hours changed recently. To see the schedule and more information about vaccinations, visit WycoVaccines.org or https://www.facebook.com/UGHealthDept.

Those who receive COVID-19 vaccinations are asked to consider bringing an ID to make the process go faster.

The Health Department is doing more mobile COVID-19 vaccinations, and people may request vaccines to be given at different sites in the community by going to WycoVaccines.org and clicking on “mobile vaccine request.” People also may request a ride to vaccination sites on the same page.

Those who wish to schedule an appointment may use the Health Department’s self-scheduling tool at WycoVaccines.org 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 schdule, visit WycoVaccines.org.

Other sites available for vaccinations

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 kansashealthsystem.com/vaccine 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 https://www.ballsfoodspharmacy.com/).

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 www.cvs.com/. Walgreens and Walmart also were listed on www.vaccines.gov as giving vaccinations.

Other pharmacies and sites giving vaccines are listed at www.vaccines.gov. The website also tells whether vaccines are in stock at the locations.

Case numbers reported

Dr. Hawkinson reported the COVID-19 case numbers at the University of Kansas Health System were about the same Wednesday morning. Five active COVID-19 patients were being treated at the hospital, no change. One patient was in the intensive care unit, no change from Tuesday. There have been no patients on ventilators since May 24. Four other patients were still in the hospital, in the recovery phase, a decrease of two from Tuesday. There were nine total COVID-19 patients, a decrease of two from Tuesday.

Wyandotte County reported an increase of six COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, June 9, for a cumulative 18,898 cases, according to the Unified Government Health Department’s COVID-19 webpage. There was a cumulative total of 299 deaths reported, no change from Tuesday.

The Mid-America Regional Council’s COVID-19 dashboard reported 175,293 cumulative, COVID-19 cases on Wednesday in the Kansas City region. The daily average of new hospitalizations was 37.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported 315,500 cumulative COVID-19 cases in Kansas on Wednesday, June 9, an increase of 401 cases since Monday, June 7. There were a total of 5,103 cumulative deaths reported statewide, an increase of three.

On Wednesday, June 9, the KDHE reported 59,373 cumulative cases in Johnson County, an increase of 68 cases since Monday. Leavenworth County had 7,274 cumulative cases, an increase of three since Monday. Sedgwick County had 57,512 cases, an increase of 55 cases since Monday, according to KDHE.

The Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard on Wednesday night reported 33,413,999 cumulative COVID-19 cases in the United States, with 598,760 total deaths reported nationwide. There were 13,011 new cases nationwide and 380 new deaths nationwide.
States with high numbers of new cases were Texas, 1,929; California, 1,161; Missouri, 724; Washington, 702; and Colorado, 600.
Countries with high numbers of new cases were India, 92,596; Brazil, 52,911; Argentina, 31,137; Colombia, 18,586; and U.S., 13,011, according to Johns Hopkins information.

Free testing available

Free COVID-19 testing will be available from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, June 10, at the Vibrant Health Argentine location, 1428 S. 32nd St., Kansas City, Kansas. This test is in conjunction with the Wyandotte County Health Equity Task Force.

Free COVID-19 testing will be offered from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, June 10, at the Kansas National Guard Armory, 100 S. 20th St., (near 18th and Ridge), Kansas City, Kansas, at the Health Department’s eastern location.

Wyandotte County residents may contact the Health Department at wycohelp.org to sign up for a test to be delivered to their home.

For more details about free COVID-19 testing offered by the UG Health Department, visit https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/pages/what-to-do-if-you-think-you-have-covid-19, https://www.facebook.com/UGHealthDept or call 3-1-1.

The Health Department’s general contact page is at https://www.wycokck.org/Health/Contact.aspx. The department’s Facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/UGHealthDept.

Testing sites are at https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/pages/what-to-do-if-you-think-you-have-covid-19. There are more test sites listed on this page.

Saliva testing is now offered at the UG Health Department. For more information, visit https://alpha.wycokck.org/files/assets/public/health/documents/covid/02042021-ugphd-saliva-testing-available.pdf.

The KU doctors’ news conference is at https://www.facebook.com/kuhospital/videos/314691290126187.

The University of Kansas Health System COVID-19 update page is at https://www.facebook.com/kuhospital/videos/330310795391910.

A vaccine report for the state of Kansas is at

The KDHE’s COVID-19 webpage is at https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/.

The KC Region COVID-19 Hub dashboard is at https://marc2.org/covidhub/.

The Wyandotte County page on the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 website is at https://bao.arcgis.com/covid-19/jhu/county/20209.html.

The Johns Hopkins Data in Motion, a presentation on critical COVID-19 data in the past 24 hours, is at https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/covid-19-daily-video.