Booster shots of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine are now available at the Marshall County Health Department on Tuesdays.

The shots were authorized last week by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and soon arrived at the health department here.

Sue Rhodes, department director, said there are only Pfizer boosters, no Moderna and Johnson & Johnson available. A person can get one if it has been six months since the second of the double-dose Pfizer shots.

Most people with underlying health conditions qualify for the booster, Rhodes said.

KDHE’s news release on the booster said that “eligibility for a booster dose based on an underlying medical condition will only require self-attestation – a prescription or assessment from a health care provider is not required.”

Rhodes said the local health department still is seeing about 60 to 70 people each Tuesday getting their first, second or third COVID-19 vaccine shot.

She attributes the lower numbers of active COVID-19 cases to the fact that more people ages 12 and older are getting vaccinated.

There were nine active cases in Marshall County on Tuesday, Rhodes said, and one person hospitalized. She is seeking clarification on the number of deaths in the county, noting that a few more people have died after being infected by the virus in recent weeks. The number of deaths currently stands at 26 as she waits on death certificates to be issued.

Rhodes said that tests show that 100 percent of the virus cases now are of the fast-spreading delta variant.

“We’ve definitely seen more positive cases in young people lately, because they are not vaccinated. Quite a few 1- and 2-year-olds,” Rhodes said.

Flags flew at half staff this past week to honor more than 6,000 Kansas lives lost due to COVID-19, and the families they left behind.

Gov.Laura Kelly directed that flags be lowered throughout the state through Sept. 29. 

“It is with great sadness that, for the sixth time since the pandemic began, I am ordering flags to half-staff to honor the lives and memories of another 1,000 Kansans who have died from COVID-19,” Kelly said in a statement. “We have the tools to stop the virus in its tracks and prevent further unnecessary deaths of our loved ones and neighbors. I urge all Kansans to get vaccinated, wear masks and follow best health practices.”

KDHE recommends boosters for:

• People aged 65 years and older, regardless of a medical condition.

• Residents in long-term care settings.

• People aged 50–64 years with underlying medical conditions should receive a Pfizer booster shot.

• People aged 18–49 years with underlying medical conditions may receive a Pfizer booster shot.

• People aged 18-64 years who are at increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission because of occupational or institutional setting may receive a Pfizer booster shot, based on their individual benefits and risks.