More than 5,000 Riley County residents have signed up online to get on a list to receive the coronavirus vaccine.
Health officials revealed the volume of requests Thursday morning; the list launched Wednesday afternoon at rileycountyks.gov/VaccineRequest.
The information will help the health department determine when a person can get it, based on guidance from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. People will have to provide proof of residence.
The health department will distribute the vaccines based on a phased approach depending on age, health conditions and occupation.
Although vaccines are not available to the general public right now, this list will help the county distribute vaccinations once they are. People also can call the health department at 785-565-6560 to get on the list.
“The data collected in the online form will help us to easily communicate with the public when vaccines are available and advise people how to promptly receive them,” said Julie Gibbs, the county’s health department director.
Manhattan residents on the Pottawatomie County side should contact the Pottawatomie County Health Department, officials said.
Riley County is in Phase 1 of the vaccination plan, meaning healthcare workers, people at long-term care facilities and emergency medical services staff are receiving the vaccine.
Gibbs said Thursday during the Riley County Commission meeting that the health department needs about 2,500 more doses to finish Phase 1, meaning everyone would have received their two vaccine shots. The health department expected to receive those vaccinations from KDHE later Thursday. She said the health department hopes to vaccinate all of those in the health sector by the end of next week.
Phase 2 will start after that; it includes the following populations: adults aged 65 and older, K-12 teachers and staff, licensed childcare providers, those at emergency shelter homes and public transportation employees. The phase’s start date hasn’t been determined, but the health department expects increased availability in mid- to late winter.
Ascension Via Christi Hospital President Bob Copple said not many people have declined the vaccine so far at the hospital, other than those who are pregnant or nursing. He said about half of those who are pregnant or nursing received the vaccination and the other half opted to wait. A couple of people did not get the vaccine because of their faith, Copple said. He said those who are undergoing chemotherapy or other treatments are waiting as well.
Aryn Price, clinical supervisor and registered nurse at the health department, said not many staff members there have denied the vaccine. Some people had to wait to get the vaccine because of an active coronavirus infection, Price said. Price also said some staffers who are nursing, pregnant or wanting to become pregnant have opted to wait.
Copple and Price said people who are nursing, pregnant or wanting to become pregnant should contact their doctor about getting the vaccine.
Price said no one has reported side effects from the vaccine that required medical care. Typical side effects include redness, soreness and swelling at the injection site, Price said.