Vaccine availability improvement continues

By Mike Genet mike.genet@examiner.net
The Examiner

The two hospital campuses of Truman Medical Centers/University Health will be taking same-day vaccine appointments this week, and Chief Executive Charlie Shields says the hospitals will start to take walk-in appointments Tuesday.

After several weeks of supply shortages in the initial vaccine rollout, Shields said that situation quickly improved, and TMC will at some point this week pass 100,000th vaccine doses given at the hospitals and its mobile clinics throughout the community. 

“It’s not really that appointments are slowing down,” he said Monday. “The supply has caught up to demand. 

“In the beginning, clearly the demand was much higher than the supply. At this point supply probably exceeds demand right now. It’s easy right now to get a shot.” 

People can call 816-404-CARE to set-up a same-day appointment at either TMC location – Hospital Hill in Kansas City or at Lakewood. 

Right now, TMC is distributing Pfizer vaccine doses. It’s given all three – Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – but has always been mostly Pfizer, Shields said.  

“We guarantee we’ll have that second dose,” he said. “We hold back the second doses.” 

Shields said the Jackson County Health Department has given more than 50,000 doses while working through its backlog of vaccine requests, and the Independence Health Department says it has given more than 8,000 vaccine doses at its clinic at Independence Center. 

“We kept our own list; we had a backlog of 30,000, and we’re completely through that,” Shields said. “That’s why we were able to same-days.” 

Independence will have clinics at the mall, next to the former Macy’s, Wednesday through Friday this week, 11 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. People can sign up for appointments to receive the first Pfizer dose at: bit.ly/FirstDoseApril21-23, and walk-ins are welcome until 6 p.m. A second dose will be required in three weeks. 

The Jackson County Health Department is again hosting appointment vaccine clinics this week at the John Knox Village Pavilion in Lee’s Summit, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day. People can sign up at: jacohd.org/events, and walk-ins are welcome until Tuesday 

Shields said the sooner more people get vaccine shots, the earlier people can fully return to the lives they had enjoyed. 

“If people are hesitant, they need to talk with people who’ve had the vaccine and see the overwhelming feeling of security of those who’ve had the vaccine,” he said. “From our own staff, seeing the sense of safety, it’s a pretty good feeling.”