TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation’s public charity, RF Catalytic Capital and Project Access to Covid Tests (Project ACT), is providing a second round of free at-home COVID-19 tests to households in all Kansas communities. All Kansas households can now visit AccessCovidTests.org to place an order for an additional five at-home COVID-19 test kits. Amazon will deliver the test kits directly to your house.
Testing before holiday gatherings is one way to prevent spreading COVID-19 to family and friends. Frequent testing is especially important for those with more exposure outside the home, such as kids in school or people who spend time in a group setting. By visiting AccessCovidTests.org, Kansans will be able enter their zip code to order free, rapid, at-home COVID-19 test kits.
Kansans who need more support in ordering can call 866-534-3463 (866-KDHEINF).
If you need additional testing, please visit KnowBeforeYouGoKS.com to find a free testing site in your community.
Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines will now be available for Kansas Children Ages 6 Months to 6 years
TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) today announced that Kansas has adopted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) authorization for administering the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months to 5 years old and the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 6 months to 6 years old.
“The vaccine remains the best way to protect from serious illness. This important development will help keep children safe and stop the spread of COVID-19,” Janet Stanek, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. “We encourage all parents or guardians of eligible Kansans to discuss this with their healthcare provider or the medical professional at the location where you receive care about receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and booster shot.”
These vaccines have undergone clinical trials specifically for people ages for children ages 6 months to 6 years old to determine that the vaccine is safe, effective and appropriately dosed to minimize possible side effects.
The two vaccines are expected to arrive later this week to Kansas providers, at that time children ages 6 months to 6 years old will be able to receive a COVID-19 vaccine from a large network of vaccine providers across Kansas, including doctor’s offices, retail pharmacies, local health departments, and clinics.
In addition, many community partners and schools may also offer the COVID-19 vaccine for Kansas children. Information on locations offering vaccines for children ages 6 months to 6 years old will be available at vaccines.gov, and we recommend calling your local provider to confirm availability as well.
More information can be found at kansasvaccine.gov/.
Governor Laura Kelly Announces Transition to COVID-19 Endemic Response
TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) today announced their continued efforts to shift to the next chapter of the COVID-19 response, pivoting from emergency pandemic response to endemic normalcy. On April 1, KDHE will make changes to continue the transition from emergency response to our ‘new normal,’ which includes life with COVID-19—similar to how we deal with other recurring diseases like the flu. Using the lessons learned over the past two years, KDHE will continue to ensure the State is prepared for potential surges or other needs that might arise in the future.
“Kansas is continuing the transition to a new phase of understanding and living with COVID-19,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “We know the pandemic is not over, however we now have the tools and knowledge obtained over the past two years to prevent or reduce the spread of the virus. We are normalizing our COVID-19 response and incorporating these lessons into our larger efforts at improving health outcomes for all Kansans, which includes work on multiple diseases and an awareness of differing risk factors.”
This decision comes as current COVID-19 metrics are moving in the right direction. Over the last two years, KDHE has made significant progress in keeping Kansas communities safe with the help of partners throughout the State: over 7 million tests have been given, over 4 million vaccines have been administered, and over 78% of eligible Kansans have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.
“In our new normal, we will continue to ensure that Kansans have equitable access to life-saving vaccines, tests, and treatments. This shift does not mean that COVID is over, but rather we are working to manage the disease in a way that allows us to maintain a more normal life that is once again filled with friends, families and other loved ones,” said KDHE Secretary Janet Stanek.
Working with Local Health Departments (LHDs) and stakeholders, KDHE’s endemic plan addresses six key areas that are designed to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all Kansans:
- Intervention: KDHE will continue to provide comprehensive guidance, while continuing to offer additional assistance to underserved and/or vulnerable populations.
- Vaccination: KDHE will focus on making sure vulnerable populations have access to the COVID-19 vaccine while existing vaccine providers, including health care providers, pharmacists, hospitals, and LHDs, will continue to serve the broader population.
- Treatment: KDHE will continue to ensure Kansans will be able to receive COVID-19 treatment across the State, as treatment distribution shifts away from public health entities and back to local health care providers.
- Testing: KDHE will continue to support access to free testing across the state through community testing sites, LHDs, and K-12 schools as long as federal funding is available. In addition, the federal government provides direct testing support to Federally Qualified Health Centers and pharmacies around the state. To find a free testing location near you, go to knowbeforeyougoKS.com. KDHE testing support for Long Term Care Facilities will be phased out on May 15, 2022, and testing support for employers ends on June 30, 2022.
- Monitoring: KDHE will continue to monitor data as reported by organizations and facilities across the state to understand the status of COVID-19 and proactively identify at-risk groups. Public reporting will be reduced to once a week.
- Communications: KDHE will continue to provide essential and accessible COVID information to keep Kansans safe and aware of any subsequent changes to COVID-19 response efforts.
Across each of the above areas, KDHE will remain prepared to ramp up capacity to quickly respond to a surge and keep Kansans safe should the need arise.
KDHE Supports FDA and CDC Recommendation for Second Dose of COVID-19 Booster for Certain Individuals
TOPEKA – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has authorized the over 2,000 COVID-19 vaccine providers across Kansas to begin offering a second dose of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for individuals aged 50 and over and certain immunocompromised individuals following authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition, CDC recommends adults who received a primary vaccine and booster dose of Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine at least 4 months ago may now receive a second booster dose using an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.
These updated recommendations acknowledge the increased risk of severe disease in certain populations, including those who are over the age of 50 with multiple underlying conditions, along with the currently available data on vaccine and booster effectiveness.
The following updates were made to booster shot eligibility.
- A second booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine or Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine may be administered to individuals 50 years of age and older at least 4 months after receipt of a first booster dose of any authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine.
- A second booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine may be administered to individuals 12 years of age and older with certain kinds of immunocompromise at least 4 months after receipt of a first booster dose of any authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine. These are people who have undergone solid organ transplantation, or who are living with conditions that are considered to have an equivalent level of immunocompromise.
- A second booster dose of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine may be administered at least 4 months after the first booster dose of any authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine to individuals 18 years of age and older with the same certain kinds of immunocompromise.
Vaccines remain the best tool to protect people from COVID-19, slow transmission and reduce the likelihood of new variants emerging. The authorized COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective in preventing serious illness, hospitalizations, and death. COVID-19 booster shots are authorized for all people ages 12 and over. To find a vaccine near you, visit Vaccines.gov.
Senate PASSES Marshall’s Resolution to End COVID State of Emergency
(Washington, D.C., March 3, 2022) – U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. released the following statement after the U.S. Senate voted 48-47 in favor of his legislation to end the COVID-19 national state of emergency currently in effect under the National Emergencies Act (NEA). Despite all scientific advances and our possession of a much greater understanding of COVID, President Joe Biden stealthily extended the national emergency declaration two weeks ago. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch Senator Marshall’s speech.
“After nearly two years of living under this state of emergency, the American people are worn out and yearning to breathe free; they long for their God-given freedoms, and for leaders to take their side. There is no doubt, it’s time for our nation to learn to live with COVID,” said Senator Marshall. “I am proud my colleagues came together to repeal this emergency declaration and delivered a symbolic victory to our citizens that normalcy is around the corner and that limited government and our constitutional rights still reign supreme. It’s high time to stop talking about restrictions and the unknown. We must chart a new course to victory today that respects the virus and our freedoms.”
PASSED: Sen. Marshall Resolution to Block Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare Workers
(Washington, D.C., March 2, 2022) – U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. released the following statement after the U.S. Senate passed his legislation to halt President Biden’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. Senator Marshall delivered remarks on the Senate floor prior to the vote. You may click HERE or on the image below to view the Senator’s speech.
“Make no mistake, this federal vaccine mandate is not about public health or science – it’s about Joe Biden fulfilling his desire to control every aspect of our lives, and it’s a slap in the face to the hard-working men and women who never took a day off on the frontline fight against COVID-19,” said Senator Marshall. “Today is a huge victory for all the healthcare workers who ran to the sound of the COVID battle as Senate Republicans joined forces taking us one step closer to invalidating President Biden’s overreaching and harmful CMS vaccine mandate. These workers are the true heroes of the pandemic and deserve our best fight and utmost respect.”
You may click HERE to view Senator Marshall’s remarks as prepared.
Senator Marshall’s resolution stops the COVID-19 vaccine mandate for virtually all healthcare employees and prevents any similar rule from being proposed in the future. The resolution now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives. Companion legislation was introduced by Representatives Jeff Duncan (SC) and has the support from over 168 members.
President Biden’s mandate would exacerbate staffing shortages and impose burdensome costs at health care facilities. According to CMS, the unfunded mandate will cost over $158 million to health care facilities to implement. For nursing homes and rural health providers, which already face staff shortages, losing even one percent of staff is catastrophic in their field. These providers would be forced to limit available services or close their doors for not meeting minimum staffing requirements. The rule also does not take into account infection-acquired immunity or the fact that vaccines do not prevent the transmission of the now dominant Omicron variant.
The CMS vaccine mandate was previously prohibited from taking effect by two federal courts in Louisiana and Missouri. While the Supreme Court ruled in January that the CMS has the statutory authority to impose conditions upon health care facilities participating in Medicare and Medicaid, it harms access to care for rural and underserved communities. Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and nine other Attorneys General have asked a separate federal court to reopen litigation to lift the stay on further district proceedings.
The Congressional Review Act is a legal tool whereby Congress can overturn rules issued by federal agencies, once it has been properly noticed. “Proper notice” occurs once a regulation is printed in the Federal Register and received by the Clerks of the House and Senate. The CMS vaccine mandate regulation was printed in the Federal Register on November 5, 2021. With more than 36 original cosponsors, the resolution received privilege in the Senate and allowed the body to vote on it.
A message from the SEK Multi-County Health Department on Home COVID Tests Through U.S. Postal Service.
- How do I do the test? Please refer to the instructions and read ALL the instructions before attempting to do the test.
- My test kit was outside in the cold. Is it still good? Refer to the package instructions.
- My test kits are bad, how do I get another one? We are unsure if replacements are available. Refer to testing sites or those handing out test kits.
- Do I have to report the results to someone? No reporting is not required, refer to this link for isolation and quarantine guidance: https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/DocumentCenter/View/134/Isolation–Quarantine-Guidance-and-FAQs-PDF—021522?bidId=
- We used our test kits earlier but are exposed again, how do we get more? The limit is 4 per household at this time. Refer to the isolation and quarantine link above.
- My test says positive, but the control didn’t work, what does that mean? If the control doesn’t work, then the test MAY not be accurate. Retest is needed.
- I’m not comfortable doing the test, can I bring it in and have you help? No, this is a home test kit.
- Can I use this kit to test my child? There will be a section in the instructions that has “limitations” and it should say if it’s not appropriate for certain groups.