Health department asks health care employers to enroll for COVID-19 vaccination program; county adds 65 cases

photo by: AP File Photo

In this May 4, 2020, photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the first patient enrolled in Pfizer's COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, receives an injection.

Updated at 3:41 p.m. Thursday

Douglas County’s health department is asking that local health care employers who are interested in having their employees receive an FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccine enroll for the county’s COVID-19 vaccination program.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is expected to receive nearly 24,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer by mid-December and 150,000 doses by the end of the month. KDHE estimates that about 6,000 health care workers and 1,300 hospital employees in Douglas County will qualify to receive the vaccine in the initial phase, a press release from Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health said.

Health care employers should let the health department know how many employees they have who might be eligible. From there, the health department will contact the individual employees in the coming weeks and ask them if they would like to schedule an appointment once the vaccine is available.

“We are asking all healthcare employers to enroll now to let us know how many employees they have who would qualify for the first phase of our vaccination plan,” Charlie Bryan, business systems analyst for Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health and Chair of the Unified Command’s Vaccination Planning Unit, said in the release. “Employees will receive instructions for opting in or opting out, and those who opt in will receive additional instructions for pre-registration and scheduling once the vaccine is available.”

Enrolling in the county’s COVID-19 vaccination program will aid local planning efforts for distribution, according to the release. To sign up for the program via the online form, go to

Kansas’ state plan notes that those who are eligible for the first phase of vaccine distribution are health care personnel both paid and unpaid who are likely to be exposed to or who treat people with COVID-19 or infectious materials and who cannot work from home. Kansas’ initial vaccine distribution will also be geared toward long-term care residents. Unified Command partners will announce enrollment plans for other priority groups in the coming weeks, according to the release. The general population is expected to be able to receive the vaccine by late spring or early summer.

Health care workers seeking more information about vaccine approval can view Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health’s resource page for health care workers.

Neither the county nor Lawrence Memorial Hospital requires health care workers to be vaccinated.

Douglas County reported 5,033 cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday, an increase of 65 cases since Wednesday. Of the 5,033 cases, 3,935 are inactive or beyond the infectious period, meaning 1,098 cases are active.

The county has averaged roughly 58 new cases per day over the last 14 days, according to a 14-day moving average graph updated weekdays by the health department. The current average of 57.86 new cases per day is down from a recent high of 74 cases per day in mid-November and up from a recent low of 18 cases per day in mid-October.

Douglas County’s 14-day moving average test positivity rate is at 5.8%. It is down from a recent high of about 13% in early November and up from a recent low of 4.9% in mid-October.

Fifteen patients at Lawrence’s hospital had COVID-19 on Thursday, five fewer than Wednesday. Twenty-seven county residents have died from the virus thus far.


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