Feb. 23—Some Kansas City residents in ZIP codes with low life expectancy can get COVID-19 vaccines through a new partnership with Walmart and the YMCA, Mayor Quinton Lucas' office announced Tuesday.
The program will allow the city to vaccinate more than 3,500 people over the next six weeks at an undisclosed YMCA location. The vaccines are supplied straight from the federal government to Walmart, meaning the number of vaccines Kansas City is getting from the state of Missouri won't be affected.
The city's Health Department is notifying residents who are eligible for vaccine appointments and will not accept walk-ins. To sign up to be notified about available vaccines through this program or the city's general rollout, visit kcmo.gov/coronavirus and click on "COVID-19 Vaccination Contact Form."
But Lucas said in the release that the department is using email and phone to make sure residents who don't have reliable internet access have a chance to receive the vaccine.
"As we continue vaccine rollout, we will not leave anyone behind," Lucas said.
On Monday, the Kansas City metropolitan area added 267 new COVID-19 cases. In the more than 11 months since the metro's first COVID-19 death, the virus has killed 1,975 area residents.
The Walmart vaccines will go to residents in ZIP codes with some of the lowest life expectancies, including 64127, 64128 and 64130, which all lie east of The Paseo. In Kansas City, people in ZIP codes only blocks from one another have, on average, drastically different life expectancies.
Cheryl Pegus, executive vice president for health and wellness at Walmart, said the company will keep working to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines.
"We have two goals as we administer vaccines: first, to get as many shots in eligible arms as possible so we can start the process of reopening our country and second, ensuring equitable vaccine access across the communities we serve," Pegus said.
The YMCA of Greater Kansas City's president and CEO, John Mikos, said the nonprofit was proud to help "provide vaccines in vulnerable communities that have been disproportionately affected by the health and economic impacts of COVID-19."
"Offering our space to improve vaccine equity is one way the Y can deliver on our mission to make sure all in our community have access to the resources they need to thrive."
The effort is being assisted by the Vaccine Task Force that Lucas appointed. The group's chair, Renita Mollman said this was "but one example of ways the community can come together to protect our most vulnerable."
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