Vaccine clinics begin in local area

Allen County will vaccinate residents 85 and older on Feb. 18, as Bourbon and Anderson counties have their clinics this week. Meanwhile, teachers and first responders received their first doses last week.

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February 10, 2021 - 10:18 AM

With a little more than a week to go before Allen County has its first public COVID-19 vaccination clinic, the health department administering the shots had a similar event Tuesday in Bourbon County.

The Southeast Kansas Multi-County Health Departments offered the vaccine for those age 85 and older in Fort Scott. Only Bourbon County residents were allowed. 

The clinic began at 10 a.m. After about an hour and a half the turnout had trickled to so few that  health officials put out a call to vaccinate those 75 and older. The response was strong, and by 1:30 officials had run out of vaccine doses and ended the clinic a half-hour early.

A vaccination clinic will be offered for elderly Anderson County residents from 9 a.m. to noon today at the fairgrounds Community Building. Auburn Pharmacy will be administering the shots on behalf of the health department. Only Anderson County residents are allowed to receive the doses, which are available on a first-come-first-served basis. 

The Allen County clinic will be offered to those 85 and older from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 18 at the Community Building in Riverside Park. 

The health department asks that vehicles do not arrive earlier than a half hour before the event, in order to allow volunteers to access the site on time. Masks are required, and attendees should wear short sleeve shirts under layers of other clothing to stay warm. 

Consent forms can be downloaded ahead of time at sekmchd.com/covid-19.

MEANWHILE, the health department has begun administering vaccine doses to Allen County’s teachers and first responders. 

USD 257 Superintendent Stacey Fager said 160 of about 300 teachers and staff received the first round of vaccine doses Friday.

About 94% of the Marmaton Valley district’s teachers and staff took advantage of the first round of vaccination Feb. 3, including substitutes and other school personnel. The district had some doses left, which was offered to others in the community age 65 and older. 

The Humboldt district reported 41 of its 90 teachers and staff were vaccinated on Feb. 3, along with a dozen or so members of the ANW Cooperative. 

First responders received their vaccine doses on Feb. 4.

Just two members of the Iola Fire Department received the vaccine. Several of the 26-person department had already been infected with COVID, and some wanted to wait until more people had been vaccinated so they could see the side effects, Chief Chase Waggoner said. He was among those waiting. 

A majority of Iola’s 17 police officers received at least the first dose of the vaccine through the health department last week, Chief Jared Warner said. Four officers have been fully vaccinated because of extra doses available through the Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas.

About a third of the Allen County Sheriff’s Department received their vaccinations Thursday. So many first responders attended the event at the Allen County Health Department, Sheriff Bryan Murphy had to travel to Woodson County for his shot, he said.

THE COUNTY’S positive COVID-19 cases have begun to drop over the past week or so, down to 39 active cases as of Tuesday evening. 

The county had reported 55 cases as of Thursday. The numbers have steadily declined since the end of January. On Jan. 27, the county had 96 active cases.

Since the pandemic began, Allen County has reported 1,023 positive cases and 14 deaths from COVID-related complications.

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