By Associated Press - Friday, February 19, 2021

MISSION, Kan. (AP) - Gov. Laura Kelly has announced plans to fix issues that have led Kansas to underreport the number of people vaccinated for COVID-19.

The state’s vaccination rate consistently ranks among the lowest in the country, and Kelly has blamed technical problems with the tracking system, called KSWebIZ.

As of Friday, 11.1% of the state’s population, or 456,093 people, have received at least the first of two required doses, state health data showed.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows the state has administered only 72% of the 581,975 doses it has received, up from 60.2% a week ago. The state’s data showed that 78% of 581,975 doses have been administered.

Dr. Lee Norman, the head of the state health department, said last week that 100,000 doses administered had not been registered as such because of system glitches.

Kelly said in a statement released Thursday evening that the state is working on addressing underlying data transfer problems with KSWebIZ.

In the meantime, providers will be required starting Monday to report daily on the number of doses received, administered, in inventory and transferred. Kelly said providers with identified reporting issues also would be required to submit patient-level information to KSWebIZ and state health officials via flat files to reduce errors and account for doses that have been delivered but not yet reported as administered or in inventory.

“We want Kansans to have confidence that we are vaccinating at-risk Kansans as quickly as possible, and despite data lags, health care providers are administering all doses of vaccine to those who need them most,” Kelly said.

Statewide data shows the pandemic is beginning to ease, with case numbers returning to levels last seen in August. Kansas added 2,115 new cases from Wednesday to Friday, pushing the state’s pandemic total to 290,832. The number of deaths rose by 93 to 4,614.

Kelly also announced Friday that she had signed an executive order temporarily suspending requirements that long-term care residents, staff and child care workers undergo tuberculosis testing because COVID-19 vaccines may interfere with their accuracy. She said the move was critical to ensure that the workers and staff get vaccinated.

“COVID-19 has impacted many Kansans – especially those working and residing in congregate facilities,” Kelly said. “We know vaccines are one of the strongest tools at our disposal to defeat this virus. This order will allow the state to get more vaccines in Kansans’ arms - quickly and safely.”

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