(RILEY COUNTY, KS – January 22, 2021) The Riley County Health Department officially began vaccinating people in phase 2 Thursday. Although we know there were some complications with Thursday's vaccine clinic, we are proud that we were able to vaccinate more than 1,000 people, many of them members of our most vulnerable population.
While past clinics to vaccinate healthcare workers and others in phase 1 went smoothly, that was not the case Thursday. We had hoped that by asking individuals to arrive within designated two-hour windows, we would control the flow of traffic and move people through the line quickly. Unfortunately, around 3:45 yesterday afternoon, the lack of parking availability and congested traffic became a safety concern, as did the number of people waiting. It was decided that we would not allow any more individuals to get in line for everyone's safety. We know this decision understandably angered many, especially those who had been given appointment times. After some adjustments, we were able to reopen the clinic to individuals with appointments. We sincerely thank those who were able to come back later Thursday evening and the dedicated team working to administer the vaccines for the long hours.
It is important to remember that this is new for all of us. We are already discussing ways to ensure the next clinic goes more smoothly and are actively working on purchasing and implementing a scheduling system that will allow us to stick to a tighter schedule with few exceptions. We will also be putting more checkpoints in place to ensure we are only vaccinating those who have been scheduled. Additionally, we will be looking to add more vaccinators and are investigating different locations and larger sites that may better accommodate the large crowds.
If you were scheduled to be vaccinated Thursday, January 21st but could not receive your shot, you are welcome to attend the next vaccine clinic early next week. The specific date, time, and location information will be sent directly through the method you provided when signing up to receive the vaccine. If you have additional questions, please contact the health department at 785-565-6560.
Thank you to the dedicated Riley County Health Department staff, the Manhattan Fire Department, the Riley County Police Department, the numerous volunteers, Riley County Emergency Management, Riley County EMS, and many others who helped at the clinic yesterday.