BELTON, Mo – As FOX4 first reported earlier this week, some local health directors say the Kansas City subway did not receive our fair share of COVID-19 vaccines on a population basis.
Now Cass County’s health director is talking about why his county has been so lagging behind.
In Cass County, around 30,000 people have signed up for a vaccine, most of them 65 years of age and older. Many of the lucky ones who were called to the Belton Vaccination Clinic Thursday said it had been a long and frustrating wait.
“We signed up on January 30th and it’s March 11th,” said Carol Johnson of the time she and her mother waited.
Almost six weeks after signing up for the vaccine, the Johnsons had their first chance to get their first dose – although friends across the state are already fully vaccinated.
“That was a good shot,” said Nan Johnson with a big smile under her mask.
The two are grateful to be on their way to full vaccination, but frustrated it took so long.
“And worrying, you know,” said Carol Johnson. “It’s out there, you know? It is offered. “
When asked how well Missouri is handling the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, Andrew Warlen, Cass County’s director of health, said, “I’m not sure I’m ready to answer that. I mean, I can tell you it was pretty frustrating for us not to get the vaccine at first. “
A little over 17% of the Missouri population has been vaccinated, but Cass County sits close to 14%. You still have a list of around 30,000 people, mostly 65 and over, waiting to be vaccinated.
Warlen said a state-commissioned vaccine distribution study showed Cass County was in the top 10 areas not getting enough vaccines.
“I think our first vaccine broadcast came on January 26th. It was 400 cans of Moderna and we had – it was gone within five days. And that’s all we have, ”said Warlen. “In the past few weeks we’ve received around 1,175 to 1,600 doses, depending on the week, and we were only giving it as soon as possible.”
As of this week, the Cass County Health Department has received a total of 4,400 COVID-19 vaccines. The doses per week that come in now is all it can handle, and Warlen said the doses-free weeks really hurt.
“Could we have started earlier? In any case, we would have made more progress, ”said Warlen. “Do I have the feeling that we are trying to catch up? Absolutely.”
Halfway through getting full vaccination, Nan Johnson sees it this way: “We’ll get back to normal at some point,” she said.
Cass County hospitals, including the Belton Regional Medical Center, have also been distributing vaccines they receive direct from the state, increasing the number of doses given in the county.
At the time of this writing, the total number of COVID-19 vaccines administered by the Cass County Health Department and its county hospital partners was 20,306.
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