KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – The first big vaccination event in KC is coming to Arrowhead Friday and Saturday.
Sixty members of the Missouri Air National Guard got to work Thursday afternoon, carefully measuring the placement of traffic cones needed to herd 4,000 cars per day over 10 hours each day for the next two days.
It may seem like a massive undertaking. It’s twice what they’ve done before, but with twice the staff, the Air National Guard doctor who’s organized all the events in the state said the logistics at Arrowhead should be no harder. He said the Guard has provided logistical support for about 100 days of events and learned a lot along the way about the quirks of vaccinating people in their cars.
“The things that are really important are the car is in park, the windows are down, the doors are unlocked,” said Col. Russell Kohl.
Truman Medical Center is one of several health organizations assisting. Their Chief Medical Officer said they haven’t done clinics in cars before, but they have done 2,000 per day in other settings. It’s an experience he described as energizing.
“When you’re there, when you go to the vaccine clinics, everybody is very appreciative, very happy, and so it’s really a very rewarding process,” said Dr. Mark Steele.
Vaccinators will come from the Jackson County Health Department, UMKC’s medical, nursing and pharmacy schools, and Truman Medical Center.
The Arrowhead event, led by the Jackson County Health Department, will also involve ATA buses bringing those who don’t have the resources to drive. Those shots will be given on the bus.
“One of the important things to the governor’s office and to the entire program is to make sure we are looking at healthcare equity and make sure the vaccine events are not limited to just those who have cars and can drive to the stadium,” Kohl said.
He said there were events in the past where people complained of waiting in their cars for up to four hours, but he said those were events that did not involve appointments. The Arrowhead event is appointment-only. The key to avoiding logjams along I-70 or Blue Ridge Cutoff will be having people arrive to their appointments on time.
“This is not the event where you should show up a half hour early or show up fashionably late. If you have an appointment at 1 o’clock, we would like to see you here at 1 o’clock. Doing that will prevent backups on highways,” Kohl explained.
He said all 8,000 appointments have already been filled by the Jackson County Health Department. If there are no-shows, he said, the health department will sort that out, but he said it will not be offered up at the end of the day at Arrowhead.
“Best case scenario, they will get to gate three and they’ll be told to continue on down the road. Worst case scenario, they will get into the line and they will probably spend the next hour sitting in the line with nothing to show for at the end of it,” Kohl described of what will happen to someone without an appointment.
Kohl vowed that any leftover vaccine will not go to waste. He noted this will be the first big event with the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which does not need to be stored at temperatures as extremely cold as the other two vaccines available in the United States, and said that should help should any be leftover at the end of the two-day event.