Vaccination rate slows, is blamed for COVID-19 clusters at nursing homes

Andrew Bahl
Topeka Capital-Journal
COVID-19 vaccination rates have slowed in Kansas over the first two weeks in May.

The first two weeks of May saw a steep decline in COVID-19 vaccinations, according to federal data released this week.

It is no secret that uptake has slowed across the state and region in recent weeks, with many counties in Kansas requesting far fewer doses than they were in months prior. 

The first two weeks of April saw over 227,000 individuals get at least their first vaccine dose, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

From May 2 to May 13, meanwhile, that number dropped to 38,302 Kansans — a decrease of about 84%.

Overall, 44.2% of eligible Kansans have gotten at least one vaccine doses, accounting for about 1.2 million people.

More:Vaccinations are vital for Kansas long-term care facilities. But only half of staff have gotten shots.

Lee Norman, secretary of health and environment, said on a media briefing Thursday that this has prompted some issues across the state.

For instance, Kansas Department of Health and Environment data shows 24 clusters linked to private businesses in the state as well as 10 outbreaks tied to long-term care facilities.

Norman noted long-term care outbreaks have largely been linked to unvaccinated staff members. Data obtained by The Capital-Journal last month showed only half of those workers have gotten their shots.

"We have had very few of the residents get sick," Norman said. "It’s been mostly, exclusively, in the un-vaccinated staff members. Which emphasizes the need for having them get vaccinated.”

KDHE reported a rise of 367 cases since Wednesday, as well as an increase of nine deaths and 28 new hospitalizations.

221 cases of COVID-19 variants were reported in Kansas since Monday, bringing the state to 884 variant cases total.

The majority of those are in Sedgwick County, although 52 counties have recorded a variant case.