Campaign launches to get 2 million people vaccinated in Greater Kansas City

A billboard is part of the Two Million Arms KC campaign in Greater Kansas City. The graphic design is by Willoughby, a brand design firm.

Some communities are losing their local mask orders, and there are virus variants being discovered in the region. But stepping in at the right time is the Two Million Arms KC campaign in Greater Kansas City.

The campaign’s goal, as stated, is to get the COVID-19 vaccine to 2 million people in the Greater Kansas City area, ideally before people get sick or before variants start escalating here.

It’s an ambitious goal, as it is about 80 percent of the Greater Kansas City area’s population, estimated at 2.5 million. The campaign recently launched through Comeback KC.

Mark Logan, communications director for Comeback KC, said the 2 million vaccines include kids, and they’re assuming at some point the vaccine will be approved for children.

Part of the communications campaign will include advertising encouraging people to get vaccines, he said. The campaign also includes support for small vaccination events, which could become very important to closing the last mile and getting the most vulnerable communities vaccinated, he said.

They’re also applying funds to conduct almost political-style door-to-door canvassing to help people in vulnerable communities address any misperceptions, and get them signed up to get the vaccine, Logan said.

Currently, Kansas is vaccinating people through health departments, pharmacies, federally qualified health centers and hospital systems, he said. Eventually, some medical offices may be added.

“We would urge them to get it at the first available opportunity, not to wait to get it from their doctor,” Logan said, as time is of the essence..

The program offers a website, VaccinateKC.com, to list events and places offering the vaccines, he said. There are a lot of pharmacies in the Kansas City area participating, and for some people that is the easiest path.

“The vaccine is free and you don’t have to have health insurance to get it,” Logan said. Anybody can go to a participating pharmacy or their Health Department, make an appointment and get the vaccine whether they have insurance or not. The Two Million Arms KC website refers Wyandotte County residents to the Unified Government Health Department’s vaccine webpage.

There are expected to be some challenges along the way to getting 2 million vaccinations. They will need enough vaccine to meet the 2 million doses goal, he added.

And unfortunately, the vaccine process has now been politicized, with a large anti-vaccination crowd, and there is misinformation and disinformation out there, he said.

“We’ve got an uphill battle to fight,” he added.

The campaign probably will go on for at least a year, he said, and how quickly they can reach the goal depends in part on when the vaccine is approved for children.

Logan said initial funding for the campaign came from Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Kansas City, and they are seeking additional funding now. The campaign will be conducted in large part through partners in the region including health departments, vaccinators and community organizations that are working to get people vaccinated, according to Logan.

One of the designs for the Two Million Arms KC campaign. The designs are by Willoughby, a brand design firm.

Residents can expect to see billboards, social media, print and broadcast advertising, according to the campaign. Also, there will be posters and fliers available for employers, community centers, places of worship, and retailers. The graphic designs for the campaign were developed by Willoughby, a brand design firm.

“As my office and the City continue our work to ensure equitable vaccine distribution, I am proud of this effort to simplify and amplify the COVID-19 vaccine process for Kansas Citians throughout our region,” Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas said in a news release. “As more folks become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, and more resources become available to receive it, the Two Million Arms KC Campaign will be working to inform and connect folks to these events and encourage them to receive their vaccines. We will continue to work on quickly and equitably connecting folks with a vaccine, so we can finally bring an end to this pandemic and begin our recovery process.”

“Given the early impact of COVID-19 in Wyandotte County, and our community’s historically diverse population, we’ve initiated extensive education and outreach campaigns regarding safety protocols, testing, and vaccinations throughout the various stages of the pandemic,” Mayor-CEO David Alvey of the Unified Government said in the news release. “The Two Million Arms KC efforts complements the vaccination efforts we’ve undertaken to educate and protect our residents and our entire community, and we’re proud to partner with Comeback KC, other local governments, and various entities to promote a broader regional campaign surrounding the importance of vaccinations for everyone.”

“Vaccination is safe and effective,” according to Dr. Erin Corriveau, deputy health officer for Wyandotte County, “The faster we all get vaccinated, the faster we can move forward into a healthier, better future, together.”

Two Million Arms KC has been endorsed by the Mid-America Regional Council; BioKansas; the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Kansas City; the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce; Health Forward Foundation; El Centro; Kansas City, Missouri; Johnson County; Clay County; Platte County; and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County.

“We may live in two states, many counties, and lots of different cities, but we’re all one region and we have one goal: get everyone vaccinated so we can recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Logan said. “We also want to make sure that we proactively and meaningfully address the equity issues that have been raised by the pandemic and even by the vaccination response to date.”

“We look forward to working with the Two Million Arms KC Campaign to ensure our vaccination process is easy and accessible for all, especially for our underrepresented Black and Brown communities,” said Dr. Vernon Howard, president of Southern Christian Leadership Conference Kansas City. “Continued community collaboration and outreach is key to helping our friends, families, and neighbors reach immunity from COVID-19, and this campaign is the first step of many.”

“People of color were overrepresented with severe impacts of the virus,” according to Irene Caudillo, president and CEO of El Centro. “This campaign will provide messages in Spanish for us to use in our Latino community. The campaign will be useful for trusted community-based organizations to utilize in our effort to make sure there is equitable distribution of the vaccine in communities that were most impacted.”

“Getting vaccinated not only protects you and the people around you,” said Joe Reardon, president and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, “It’s also necessary to restore the health of our businesses and our regional economy. It’s the road to recovery and a return to normalcy.”

The Two Million Arms website, www.VaccinateKC.com, includes information in both English and Spanish about how residents can get a vaccine. The campaign also includes a vaccination van, which is available to KC region vaccinators to help close the “last mile” of vaccination efforts. The vaccination van will be used for small, community vaccination events and even to deliver vaccines to homebound individuals.

The nonprofit home of Comeback KC is KC Digital Drive (www.kcdigitaldrive.org), a 501c3 nonprofit organization.

One of the designs for the Two Million Arms KC campaign. The designs are by Willoughby, a brand design firm.

Walk-in and by appointment vaccinations offered; Saturday hours added

Free vaccinations will be available between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 7, at the three Unified Government Health Department vaccination sites in Wyandotte County.

They are accepting walk-in vaccinations from Wyandotte County residents over age 16. Residents also may schedule appointments.

The UG Health Department will hold Saturday vaccination clinics from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on April 10, April 17 and April 24 at the Kansas National Guard Armory, 18th and Ridge. Johnson and Johnson vaccinations, only one dose, will be given on the Saturdays.

Wyandotte County residents who are 18 and older can schedule an appointment to reserve a spot on Saturday, or they can walk in without an appointment. Everyone should bring proof of their address.

Starting Monday, April 12, the Health Department is changing its Monday schedule in order to offer the Saturday hours. One site will be closed each Monday, but the other two will be open 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays. The closures include the Armory, closed April 12; the former Kmart location, closed April 19; and the former Best Buy, closed April 26.

All three vaccination sites will be open from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays.

The Unified Government Health Department has launched a new self-scheduling tool for COVID-19 vaccinations, and people are now able to schedule their own vaccinations at their own convenience online.

The self-scheduling tool is at https://vaccines.wycokck.org/, or people may call 3-1-1 to make an appointment. More information is at http://wyandottedaily.com/ug-health-department-launches-new-self-scheduling-tool-for-covid-19-vaccinations/.

Residents 16 and older may either walk in to get a free vaccine or may schedule an appointment. There are three Unified Government Health Department vaccination clinics.

The vaccination sites are at the former Kmart store at 7836 State Ave., the former Best Buy store at 10500 Parallel Parkway and the Kansas National Guard Armory at 100 S. 20th (near 18th and Ridge).

Those Wyandotte County residents in Phases 1 to 4 also may walk in to a Health Department vaccination site, or may sign up for a vaccination at WycoVaccines.org or call 3-1-1.

Those who walk in to get vaccines should bring an ID and something showing their Wyandotte County address, such as mail. For more information about vaccines at the UG Health Department, visit https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-vaccines-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/.

There are also pharmacies giving COVID-19 vaccinations in Wyandotte County by appointment, when available. These include Price Chopper and Hen House pharmacy at 76th and State Avenue, and 81st and State Avenue (see https://www.ballsfoodspharmacy.com/), and Medicine Shoppe pharmacy at 65th and Parallel by appointment when available (see https://www.facebook.com/The-Medicine-Shoppe-Kansas-City-281548241870522). CVS pharmacy also has announced that it will offer COVID-19 vaccines at one of its stores in Kansas City, Kansas. Registration is at CVS.com.

COVID-19 case numbers reported

The University of Kansas Health System reported seven active COVID-19 patients on Tuesday morning, no change from Monday, according to Dr. Dana Hawkinson, medical director of infection prevention and control. Of the seven patients, three were in the intensive care unit, no change from Monday. One patient was on a ventilator, a decrease of one since Monday. There were another 15 COVID-19 patients who were hospitalized but are out of the acute infection phase, an increase of two since Monday. There is a total 22 patients, an increase of two.

Wyandotte County reported an increase of 16 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, April 6, for a cumulative 18,140 cases, according to the Unified Government Health Department’s COVID-19 webpage. There was a cumulative total of 287 deaths reported, no change from Monday.

The Mid-America Regional Council’s COVID-19 dashboard reported 164,609 cumulative COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, an increase of 134. The daily average of new hospitalizations was 62. The number of cumulative deaths was 2,340.

The state of Kansas reported 303,227 cumulative COVID-19 cases on Monday, April 5, an increase of 354 cases since Friday. There were a total cumulative 4,927 deaths reported statewide, a decrease of five.. According to the KDHE, a decrease in deaths was attributed to a review of death certificates. Some deaths initially reported as COVID-19 related were identified during the review process as not having COVID-19 as the ain cause or contributing cause of death. According to KDHE figures, there were a cumulative 56,398 cases in Johnson County, with an increase of 99 cases between Friday and Monday. There were a cumulative 54,913 cases in Sedgwick County on Monday, an increase of 52 cases between Friday and Monday. The KDHE reported a total 7,076 cases in Leavenworth County on Monday, an increase of seven cases between Friday and Monday. There were 16,993 cumulative cases in Shawnee County, the Topeka area, on Monday, an increase of 26 between Friday and Monday.

The Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard on Tuesday night reported 30,845,703 cases in the United States, with 556,506 total deaths reported nationwide. There 79,075 new cases and 607 new deaths nationwide. Johns Hopkins’ Daily COVID-19 Data in Motion, https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/covid-19-daily-video.

COVID-19 tests scheduled

Free COVID-19 tests will be available from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 7, at Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center, 3043 State Ave., Kansas City, Kansas. The tests are in partnership with the Wyandotte County Health Equity Task Force. Nasopharyngeal swab-PCR tests will be provided by Vibrant Health.

COVID-19 testing is available at 8 a.m. Wednesday at Lowe’s, 6920 State Ave., by appointment. The tests are listed on the Go Get Tested site
at www.gogettested.com/Kansas. The WellHealth tests need appointments, which can be made at the website.

Unified Government Health Department COVID-19 testing and vaccine sites are scheduled to be open on Wednesday, April 7. For more information, visit https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/pages/what-to-do-if-you-think-you-have-covid-19. To see if there is any change to the schedule, visit https://www.facebook.com/UGHealthDept.

The Health Department is offering saliva COVID-19 tests to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 7, at the former Kmart at 7836 State Ave. and at the former Best Buy at 10500 Parallel Parkway. Tests from the Health Department are free for those who live or work in Wyandotte County.

The tests are open to asymptomatic people as well as those who have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19. Check with the UG Health Department’s Facebook page to see if there have been any changes in the schedule. Bring something that shows that you live or work in Wyandotte County, such as a utility bill.

The Health Department’s general contact page is at https://www.wycokck.org/Health/Contact.aspx. Their Facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/UGHealthDept.

Testing sites are at https://wyandotte-county-covid-19-hub-unifiedgov.hub.arcgis.com/pages/what-to-do-if-you-think-you-have-covid-19.

Saliva testing is now offered at the UG Health Department. For more information, visit https://alpha.wycokck.org/files/assets/public/health/documents/covid/02042021-ugphd-saliva-testing-available.pdf.

The University of Kansas Health System COVID-19 update page is at https://www.facebook.com/kuhospital/videos/292961702392386.

A weekly vaccine report for the state of Kansas is at
https://www.kansasvaccine.gov/DocumentCenter/View/123/Vaccine-Historical-Document-22521?bidId=.

Wyandotte County has a local mask and social distancing ordinance approved by the UG Commission. The UG COVID-19 webpage is at https://alpha.wycokck.org/Coronavirus-COVID-19-Information.

The KDHE’s COVID-19 webpage is at https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/.

The KC Region COVID-19 Hub dashboard is at https://marc2.org/covidhub/.

The Wyandotte County page on the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 website is at https://bao.arcgis.com/covid-19/jhu/county/20209.html.

The Johns Hopkins Data in Motion, a presentation on critical COVID-19 data in the past 24 hours, is at https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/covid-19-daily-video.

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