Douglas County health leaders react to dip in demand for fairground vaccination clinic

Douglas County health leaders react to dip in demand for fairground vaccination clinic
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Douglas County opened Wednesday’s mass vaccination clinic at the county fairgrounds to anyone over the age of 16 after nearly 2,000 appointments were still unclaimed Tuesday night. KMBC 9 spoke with health leaders about the drastic dip in demand and where leftover doses will go.The clinic at the Douglas County Fairgrounds Wednesday had 4,100 doses available but only 2,200 people signed up. Organizers adjusted to make sure no doses were wasted. “I really didn’t think in my personal projections that we would be in this place until another week or two,” said Douglas County Emergency Management Director Robert Bieniecki.It’s a dramatic difference from weeks past, where more than 4,000 people drove through this clinic each Wednesday. Bieniecki says people may be going elsewhere. “Really spreading that work around is what’s happening, because all the pharmacies getting vaccine and people getting it other places,” he said. “They’re not all just counting on this one event.”“It’s kind of a wait and see on whether this is a turning point or just a blip on the path,” said Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health Director Dan Partridge. Health leaders say if demand at the clinic continues to trend down, they may need a new strategy.“Then we’ll have to start brainstorming on how to get the medication in more people. What does that look like, do we need to go to different places,” Bieniecki said.“We’re already kind of putting together the workflow to say how do we create the strategies to bring people in,” Partridge said.As organizers waited for appointments to fill up, they made sure no doses would be thrown out. “We’re always checking and making sure we only thaw what we need and don’t ever get too far out in front of that,” Partridge said. “We really want to watch that so we don’t end up with it already drawn and, you know, sitting on the table,” Bieniecki said, “so it’s really a process of monitoring it throughout the day, every hour we do a check and you know how much have we given.”He added, “when we get to the end of the day, we won’t have those extras and so we don’t have stuff thawed out that won’t get used, so we’ve not wasted a single dose.”Right now, Douglas County has the highest vaccination rate in Kansas. By the end of Wednesday’s clinic, 1,200 appointments had still been left open. Partridge says they will likely be added to Friday’s clinic and clinics next week at the fairgrounds, which are open for both first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine. To register on the county’s vaccine interest form, click here.

Douglas County opened Wednesday’s mass vaccination clinic at the county fairgrounds to anyone over the age of 16 after nearly 2,000 appointments were still unclaimed Tuesday night. KMBC 9 spoke with health leaders about the drastic dip in demand and where leftover doses will go.

The clinic at the Douglas County Fairgrounds Wednesday had 4,100 doses available but only 2,200 people signed up. Organizers adjusted to make sure no doses were wasted.

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“I really didn’t think in my personal projections that we would be in this place until another week or two,” said Douglas County Emergency Management Director Robert Bieniecki.

It’s a dramatic difference from weeks past, where more than 4,000 people drove through this clinic each Wednesday.

Bieniecki says people may be going elsewhere.

“Really spreading that work around is what’s happening, because all the pharmacies getting vaccine and people getting it other places,” he said. “They’re not all just counting on this one event.”

“It’s kind of a wait and see on whether this is a turning point or just a blip on the path,” said Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health Director Dan Partridge.

Health leaders say if demand at the clinic continues to trend down, they may need a new strategy.

“Then we’ll have to start brainstorming on how to get the medication in more people. What does that look like, do we need to go to different places,” Bieniecki said.

“We’re already kind of putting together the workflow to say how do we create the strategies to bring people in,” Partridge said.

As organizers waited for appointments to fill up, they made sure no doses would be thrown out.

“We’re always checking and making sure we only thaw what we need and don’t ever get too far out in front of that,” Partridge said.

“We really want to watch that so we don’t end up with it already drawn and, you know, sitting on the table,” Bieniecki said, “so it’s really a process of monitoring it throughout the day, every hour we do a check and you know how much have we given.”

He added, “when we get to the end of the day, we won’t have those extras and so we don’t have stuff thawed out that won’t get used, so we’ve not wasted a single dose.”

Right now, Douglas County has the highest vaccination rate in Kansas. By the end of Wednesday’s clinic, 1,200 appointments had still been left open. Partridge says they will likely be added to Friday’s clinic and clinics next week at the fairgrounds, which are open for both first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

To register on the county’s vaccine interest form, click here.

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