Vaccine supply limited as COVID-19 vaccinations begin

Chad Frey
A limited number of COVID-19 vaccine doses has been available.

The release of a COVID-19 vaccine is welcome news to medical providers — and the first doses arriving in Kansas and McPherson County has Sheila Gorman, chief of staff at McPherson Center for Health, excited. 

"We finally have a powerful tool and I could not be happier," Gorman said in an online interview at the McPherson Center for Heatlh Facebook page.  

Two vaccines have been pressed into use — one by Pfizer and a second by Moderna. 

According to Gorman, both are synthetic — meaning production is faster. 

"It is not made from the virus itself,""It does not contain any viral particles at all ... it is made up of MRNA that teaches your body how to make a protien that is on the corona virus spike."

That excitement is a bit tempered, however. Thus far only limited numbers of doses have been available — leading to priority lists. 

Not everyone who wants vaccinated can be — yet. 

"We have been receiving calls from patients asking if they can receive the vaccine or inquiring when the COVID-19 vaccine will be available," said Cyriul Russel, director of marketing for McPherson Center for Health. "It is unknown at this time when the next phase of the vaccine will be available to the public. Estimates are that it will be sometime in the early spring. Much depends on the availability of the supply from manufacturers and the distribution channels through the states."

According to the medical center, guidelines will limit those who receive the vaccine next. The CDC has established several phases of vaccination based on population groups. It is suggested the next group would be those over 75 years of age and frontline essential (non-healthcare) workers.

"The important message for now is that vaccines are not currently available for the public and when they are, distribution will be coordinated through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and local health departments," Russell said.