A COVID-19 vaccine, which many people hope will help end the pandemic, is about to come to Kansas.
The Food and Drug Administration authorized a vaccine from Pfizer to be approved on an emergency use authorization, setting the state for it to arrive in Kansas early next week.
The state is preparing to distribute a vaccine soon. The distribution plan will be in flux as situations change and depending on when the vaccine actually arrives.
When will it arrive? How much is coming in?
With the Pfizer vaccine approved Friday, another immunization from Moderna could be authorized as soon as Dec. 14.
As of now, Kansas is expecting 23,750 doses in its first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine as soon as early next week. As shipments continue weekly from both companies, Kansas is expecting about 150,000 people to be vaccinated by the end of this month.
One person may need two doses, not one, of the coronavirus vaccine.
Who will receive the vaccine first and when?
High-risk health care workers and nursing home residents will be the first in line. Groups may be added to that Phase 1 group as the plan develops. The second phase of vaccine receivers will be those not at high risk and 65 years old or older. The third phase will be those not at high risk and under 65 years of age.
The state will try to get as many Phase 1 people vaccinated by the end of the month as possible. Phases 2 and 3 will be administered on a rolling basis between winter and late spring.
How will the vaccine be distributed?
There will be about five distribution points across Kansas that are capable of using ultra-cold storage necessary for the vaccine. Locations weren’t disclosed for security reasons. From there, the vaccines will be transported to the various groups administering the vaccine.
Who is administering the vaccine?
More than 200 providers are in the process of signing up or have already signed up to administer the vaccine. Providers include hospitals, local health departments, federally qualified health centers/safety net clinics and retail pharmacies. Providers must meet certain licensing requirements, agree to conditions set forth on administering the vaccine by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and must be able to provide certain key minimum data requirements.
Is it free?
Yes. However, providers may charge an administrative fee. But no one can be turned away for not being able to pay.
Does the state have the money to distribute the vaccine?
Yes, for now, until the end of December when CARES Act spending expires. After that, the governor is calling on Congress to pass more relief funding.
Can we relax now?
No, the governor said. "The news of an upcoming vaccine does not mean we should take our foot off the gas," she said, imploring Kansans to still social distance and wear masks.
This story was updated after the governor misspoke on the number of doses to be received by the end of December.