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Johnson County man questions vaccine priority in Kansas – KMBC Kansas City

Doug Euston has a simple question for Kansas state health officials. Why is he eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine before his wife?Euston, 65, describes himself in good health and someone who exercises and walks regularly.Meanwhile, his wife Janet, 61, is taking weekly maintenance chemotherapy treatments for Multiple Myeloma and has a weakened immune system. “If she was to get COVID, her immune system would not handle it very well,” Euston said. “Every healthy 65-year-old plus was put ahead of her, which I found really troubling.”Kansas state vaccine guidelines published earlier this month say Janet Euston may have to wait months to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, while Doug becomes eligible in a couple of weeks, simply because of a four-year-difference in their age.The state has put those 65 and older in phase two of the Kansas Vaccination plan, while people with severe medical risks, such as cancer, chronic kidney disease or other severe health risk factors are in phase three.Euston sees a stark difference just miles away in Missouri, as the state has kept its vaccine distribution for cancer survivors in the same category of those 65 and older. “I think there’s some common sense priority on people that have underlying health conditions,” Euston said. “I think getting the word out, to our governments or state governments, to relook at this priority.”KMBC 9 Investigates emailed officials in both Gov. Laura Kelly’s the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.The governor’s spokesperson released the following statement:”The CDC recommends that, when supplies of COVID-19 vaccine are limited, vaccination should be offered in a phased approach. Kansas vaccine distribution guidelines were modeled after the CDC’s, with input from the Kansas Coronavirus Advisory Council, representing a diverse group of Kansans statewide. The populations prioritized were based on the populations at highest risk for COVID-19 with an attempt to maximize benefit, minimize harm, and strive for equity, justice, and fairness. But the bottom-line is that we want to get as many vaccines into people’s arms as quickly as possible, to stop the spread of the virus.””Although the Kansas guidelines are designed to ensure access to the highest-risk population groups first, they will provide flexibility for providers on the frontline. As we move into Phase Two, counties will have the ability to flex depending on their own local supply of vaccine, the number of at-risk individuals in their community, and local circumstances.””We are ready to work with the guidelines provided by the state. The key variable remains availability of vaccines. We hope that Johnson County gets amounts proportionate to our population. If we do, we are ready to vaccinate as quickly as we can,” said Dr. Sanmi Areola, Johnson County’s health director.Meanwhile, Euston said he will continue to ask public officials to relook at their priority list for COVID-19 vaccines.“I think the message needs to get out to everyone,” he said.If you are struggling with vaccine sign-ups or have questions or where you fall on your state’s distribution plan, email investigative reporter Matt Flener at [email protected]

Doug Euston has a simple question for Kansas state health officials. Why is he eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine before his wife?

Euston, 65, describes himself in good health and someone who exercises and walks regularly.

Meanwhile, his wife Janet, 61, is taking weekly maintenance chemotherapy treatments for Multiple Myeloma and has a weakened immune system.

“If she was to get COVID, her immune system would not handle it very well,” Euston said. “Every healthy 65-year-old plus was put ahead of her, which I found really troubling.”

Kansas state vaccine guidelines published earlier this month say Janet Euston may have to wait months to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, while Doug becomes eligible in a couple of weeks, simply because of a four-year-difference in their age.

The state has put those 65 and older in phase two of the Kansas Vaccination plan, while people with severe medical risks, such as cancer, chronic kidney disease or other severe health risk factors are in phase three.

Euston sees a stark difference just miles away in Missouri, as the state has kept its vaccine distribution for cancer survivors in the same category of those 65 and older.

“I think there’s some common sense priority on people that have underlying health conditions,” Euston said. “I think getting the word out, to our governments or state governments, to relook at this priority.”

KMBC 9 Investigates emailed officials in both Gov. Laura Kelly’s the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

The governor’s spokesperson released the following statement:

“The CDC recommends that, when supplies of COVID-19 vaccine are limited, vaccination should be offered in a phased approach. Kansas vaccine distribution guidelines were modeled after the CDC’s, with input from the Kansas Coronavirus Advisory Council, representing a diverse group of Kansans statewide. The populations prioritized were based on the populations at highest risk for COVID-19 with an attempt to maximize benefit, minimize harm, and strive for equity, justice, and fairness. But the bottom-line is that we want to get as many vaccines into people’s arms as quickly as possible, to stop the spread of the virus.”

“Although the Kansas guidelines are designed to ensure access to the highest-risk population groups first, they will provide flexibility for providers on the frontline. As we move into Phase Two, counties will have the ability to flex depending on their own local supply of vaccine, the number of at-risk individuals in their community, and local circumstances.”

“We are ready to work with the guidelines provided by the state. The key variable remains availability of vaccines. We hope that Johnson County gets amounts proportionate to our population. If we do, we are ready to vaccinate as quickly as we can,” said Dr. Sanmi Areola, Johnson County’s health director.

Meanwhile, Euston said he will continue to ask public officials to relook at their priority list for COVID-19 vaccines.

“I think the message needs to get out to everyone,” he said.

If you are struggling with vaccine sign-ups or have questions or where you fall on your state’s distribution plan, email investigative reporter Matt Flener at [email protected]

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