LMH Health vaccine clinics bring about 63 newcomers daily; health department awaiting direction from CDC regarding Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds

photo by: Ashley Golledge

A sign points to LMH Health's drive-thru COVID-19 vaccination center on Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020.

Douglas County’s health department has been administering COVID-19 vaccines to about 280 people a day during its weekday clinics at LMH Health, according to data from Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health.

Of those roughly 280 people per day, around 63 are receiving their first COVID-19 vaccine dose, while the others are receiving their second doses, health department spokesperson George Diepenbrock said.

Residents do not need an appointment to show up at the vaccine clinics at LMH Health, which typically run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Diepenbrock said about 40 people come each day without making an appointment first and that most of them are seeking their first doses, “which we are happy with at this point.”

Diepenbrock said the health department has been making an effort to improve access and provide information about the vaccine to residents so that everyone can make decisions for themselves and their families.

To improve access, the health department has been offering smaller clinics at sites throughout the county. The health department has recently hosted clinics in Baldwin City and Eudora. At the Baldwin City clinic, hosted on April 29, 122 first doses and five second doses were administered. At the Eudora clinic, hosted on Monday, 39 first doses and two second doses were administered. Diepenbrock also said Heartland Community Health Center was working with employers across town to schedule clinics that would be convenient in location and time for their workers, who may have previously experienced barriers to the clinics due to their work hours.

Diepenbrock said the health department has also been talking to residents who recently decided to get their first dose. The health department has asked them for suggestions on reaching their families and friends who have not yet been vaccinated. It has also started providing handouts in English and Spanish with information about common side effects, safety and efficacy data on the vaccines and where to get more information.

“Our vaccination rates show we have done well so far, and this is making a difference in our community regarding new COVID-19 cases right now,” Diepenbrock wrote in an email to the Journal-World.

In addition to clinics at LMH Health, the health department will also be hosting clinics at other locations this month. Here’s information about those upcoming clinics:

•Lawrence Public Schools: Unified Command has partnered with Lawrence Public Schools for three upcoming clinics.

• 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 12, at Lawrence High School

• 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 19, at Free State High School

• 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 25, at the Lawrence College and Career Center

•Clinic with Spanish-speaking staff: The health department will host a clinic from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 16, at South Park. All clinic staff will be fluent in Spanish.

•Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC): There will be a clinic from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 22 at Holcom Park Recreation Center where all are welcome, but priority will be given to BIPOC.

Pfizer vaccine for ages 12 to 15?

On Monday, the FDA authorized the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use for children ages 12 through 15. Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health is awaiting action from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which will meet on Wednesday, and direction from the CDC.

Diepenbrock said it was “exciting” that the FDA’s analysis of trial data for ages 12 to 15 showed the vaccine was 100% effective in preventing COVID-19.

“This is a very positive development for protecting our community, particularly in lessening the transmission routes that exist for the virus and protecting more and more people from the risk of serious illness or death,” Diepenbrock wrote. “We want to see vaccinations continue to progress in the state and region as well because our communities are so interconnected. This has great implications for not only the health of our residents, but the social and economic health of our community as well.”

If the Pfizer vaccine is approved for 12- to 15-year-olds by the CDC, Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health will post vaccine appointments for those in that age range at LDCHealth.org/COVIDVaccine and douglascountyks.org/coronavirus.


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