Kansas makes COVID-19 vaccines available to all adults starting next week

Gov. Laura Kelly tours a vaccine clinic March 15 in Topeka. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly announced Friday the state will make COVID-19 vaccines available to all adults starting next week.

The accelerated rollout comes just days after the state opened up vaccines to critical workers and individuals with health conditions that make them vulnerable to the virus. This policy shift reflects an expected increase in vaccine production and an effort to avoid letting any doses go to waste.

“We must get every dose of vaccine into arms quickly,” Kelly said. “I strongly encourage every Kansan to get the COVID-19 vaccine so we can get back to school, back to work, and back to normal.”

About 35% of Kansas adults already have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine through early phases of the state’s rollout plan.

The state first made Pfizer and Moderna vaccines available to health care workers and nursing home residents in December. In January, eligibility expanded to include residents older than 65 and some critical workers. With the arrival of Johnson and Johnson’s single-shot vaccine, the planned third and fourth phases of the rollout were combined into a single phase that began on Monday.

Starting March 29, any Kansan over the age of 16 can receive a vaccine. The state’s online vaccine finder tool can help connect residents with their nearest provider.

Kansas will become the eighth state to make vaccines available to all adults, joining Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Utah and West Virginia.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment on Friday reported 10 new deaths from COVID-19, bringing the pandemic’s statewide total to 4,891. More than 300,000 Kansans have tested positive for the virus.