Kansas trails most states in COVID-19 vaccine doses given, but Gov. Laura Kelly blames data entry

Andrew Bahl
Topeka Capital-Journal
1st Lt. Jessica Miles fills a syringe with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine Friday morning to administer to Kansas National Guard members at Forbes Air Force Base.

The state saw 1,348 new COVID-19 cases and 42 new deaths between Friday and Monday. Thirty-six new hospitalizations were also reported in that time frame.

Kansas continues to trail most other states in the percentage of COVID-19 vaccine doses administered, although Gov. Laura Kelly and her administration continue to chalk this up to data entry problems, with a short-term fix coming "soon."

As of Monday morning, Kansas had administered 389,983 vaccine doses out of the 581,975 delivered to the state, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 67%. According to the New York Times, that places the state 46th in the country.

Kansas also ranks 48th in the country for the number of doses administered per 100,000 residents, according to the CDC.

But this is misleading, Kelly and officials at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment argue.

Lee Norman, secretary of health and environment, said at a news conference last week that there were as many as 100,000 doses that had been administered but not recorded in state and federal databases, with KDHE reaching out to distribution sites to confirm they are actually getting into arms.

The agency didn't immediately respond Monday morning when asked how many of the 100,000 have since been entered into state and federal databases.

The data entry problem, Norman acknowledged, was worse in Kansas than in other states. The issue came down to gaps between the state's vaccine registry, WebIZ, and the federal system.

“I feel like we can give really good assurances that the vaccines are getting into people,” he said. “The data continues to lag. We need to fix the IT systems. These interfaces between these IT systems is where the problem is occurring.”

Kelly said Friday that a temporary fix is coming soon to smooth over the data entry problem. KDHE was in communication with the contractors who support the state's vaccine registry, WebIZ, and working on a more permanent fix, she said.