OLATHE, KS (KCTV) – Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly announced Friday that the state is making everyone over the age of 16 eligible to get the coronavirus vaccine starting Monday.

That will put the state in its fifth and final phase of its vaccine distribution just one week after the previous phase began.

It might seem sudden, but as vaccines come in, health leaders in Johnson County say a new, large-scale clinic in Lenexa will make it possible.

The warehouse-turned-clinic opened this week, offering 500 doses on Tuesday, ramping up to more than 1,200 on Friday. They plan to give 1,8000 vaccinations on Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

Johnson County Department of Health and Environment Director Dr. Samni Areola spoke with enthusiasm about Kelly’s announcement when providing a vaccine briefing on Facebook late Friday afternoon.

“It removes the need to say this group qualifies, that group doesn’t qualify,” he remarked.

We asked for big picture feedback on the timing from Dr. Dana Hawkinson, the KU Health System’s Medical Director of Infection Prevention and Control.

“It is optimistic, and it's good because we need more vaccines into arms. We know that will slow the spread,” said Hawkinson.

It’s been months since phases started with high risk groups like nursing home residents, frontline workers, and people over 65.

Examining whether it’s fair to go all-in yet, consider what happened at the Lenexa clinic on Thursday. They had 1,000 slots and filled 900.

“That’s why for us the lifting and expanding this to the entire group is really ideal,” said Areola. “We don’t want appointments to go unfilled. We want people who are interested in the vaccine to take it now, even as we educate others.”

“We know that there are groups that have been able to get it who have declined, individuals have declined,” Hawkinson echoed “Hopefully this just opens it up so that everybody who wants the vaccine can get it.”

To date Johnson County reports that 75% of residents 65 and older have had their first dose. 39% have had their second. Nearly 20-thousand doses are coming next week, more than any other week.

Only six states have preceded Kansas in opening to everyone 16 and older. Five others will join Kansas in doing so on Monday. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced last week that Missouri will reach that stage on April 9. Earlier this month President Joe Biden directed all states to reach that stage by May 1, with the hope of getting any adult who wants a vaccination fully vaccinated in time for Independence Day gatherings.

Hawkinson said the KU Health System and public health agencies he’s spoken with all have the logistical and space capacity to get it done. It now comes down to manufacturing.

“We definitely need more supply,” Hawkinson noted. “But hopefully that is coming, and we have seen the supply overall ramp up from 3, 4 weeks ago.”

Generally, Johnson County will be scheduling in the order requests are received, but they are bumping some high-risk folks to the top of the cue.

If you get an appointment, they ask that you not show up any more than ten minutes early in order to keep a smooth flow.

The best way to get signed up is with your state, your county, your doctor, and all the pharmacies offering the vaccine. Some have online surveys and forms for that, but you can also put your name on the list with a phone call.

KCTV5’s Vaccine Tracker is updated daily with a list of pharmacies, hospital groups and health agencies with availability each day.

The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment has published a detailed rundown of how they plan to proceed. It contains specifics about priority groups, vaccination locations, and signup information. You can find that here.

Wyandotte County is providing both walk-up and appointment options. All the details about that can be found here:

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