By NICK GOSNELL
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Karen Hammersmith with the Reno County Health Department knows that the 500 shots the county received this week isn't nearly enough for the people who need the COVID-19 vaccination, let alone those who want it.
"We're just working on a supply and demand," Hammersmith said. "You know, we're hoping then we can expect to see another 500 doses next Wednesday, because we received it this Wednesday. That is our hope and our goal, but once again, that's just another 500 doses."
We're still early enough in the process that those who are at the top of the list will get calls from their medical provider to get the vaccination.
"Once we do get a sufficient supply in, as manufacturers catch up and they give us a little bit more, we would look to go to an open pod setting at the Sports Arena and really kind of open that up and have online registration for that," Hammersmith said.
However, according to the numbers released by the county, just vaccinating the phase two groups will almost certainly take months, if supplies stay constant. Assuming that there is no crossover, there are over 20,000 people just in the phase two groups listed by the county in their release. The COVID-19 vaccine is a two shot series, so 500 shots really only fully vaccinates 250 people. 20,000 divided by 250 is 80. No one expects the vaccination to actually take 80 more weeks, but to pretend that the end is around the corner would be a false assumption.
"Continue to do all the things that we've been saying," Hammersmith said. "Wear a mask, social distance, keep in those small cohorts and stay at home if you are feeling ill."
Obviously, there will be some individuals that qualify in more than one group, so the numbers are likely a little lower than that, not to mention those who would refuse the vaccination for whatever reason, but even if you sign up for the online tool when it becomes available, it will likely be a lengthy period before a public vaccination clinic would happen.