By NICK GOSNELL
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — A local policy directive from Reno County commissioners has changed the order of vaccine distribution in the county by including high risk teachers along with healthcare workers and emergency responders among the first groups to get the shot.
"We took a set amount out that was available to those teachers," said Karen Hammersmith with the Health Department. "We gave them a set amount of vaccine that was available to them."
Hammersmith would not release how many shots were allocated for that purpose. It's important to note that Reno County Commissioner Dr. Mark Steffen had called for getting teachers to the front of the line in previous months.
About 1400 shots have been given of the 1900 total allocated to the county. The vast majority of those have gone to front line healthcare workers.
"We're still working through those processes," Hammersmith said. "Part of that is still getting to the entities that we're working on right now, which is like dentist's offices and optometry offices, just different places that still need the vaccine. We've had people off in the hospital front and the clinic as well, that are still getting their vaccines."
As for the timing for older members of the general public to get vaccinated, they simply don't know when they'll get the shots in.
"Those individuals that are high risk over 65 and 75, we are not there yet," Hammersmith said. "It is high on our priority list as we get more vaccine into the community. That's a very, very vulnerable population that we want to get to."
The hope is that vaccine will be available by the spring for anyone who wants it, but right now, the supply is still limited.