The Healthy Path Forward: Getting Vaccinated (and not just against COVID)

Letter to the Community from Dr. Julie Munson

Growing up in Lakin in the 1980s, my father, Dr. Eric Oppliger, was one of only two family doctors in our community. Among his many responsibilities was providing vaccines.

Some community members probably recall getting the polio vaccine as a drop of liquid on a sugar cube. Was your drop red, orange, pink or yellow? Back then, people still had memories of polio. By 1979, polio was eradicated by the vaccine. Then as now, vaccines protect what is precious to us – each other.

As a community physician myself, I strongly believe that vaccines are our strongest defense against serious contagions. People in Kearny County have always understood this, and our vaccination rates typically run higher than average. Protecting each other and looking out for one another is something Kearny County has always been good at doing.

In the spirit of looking out for the health of our community, Kearny County Hospital’s Family Health Center in Lakin accepts walk-ins for flu, pneumonia and COVID-19 vaccinations Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. and Saturdays 9:00-11:00 a.m. Appointments are not required, but those who prefer one can call 620-355-7550. We do ask that you call ahead prior to coming in for a vaccine so we can ensure we have enough for everyone! Helpful information about vaccines for all ages and times of year is also available at

When it comes to the COVID-19 vaccine, we are making a difference and seeing improvement, but infection rates are still going up in our county – and unfortunately, we still have hospitalizations and deaths from COVID. It’s not over, and together, we can and will keep fighting. 

I was born here, grew up here, and came back to raise my family here. I love this community, and as the hospital’s only full-time otolaryngology specialist and surgeon, I am dedicated to the health of our community and the mission of Kearny County Hospital: to provide quality, compassionate healthcare services for our community and enrich the lives of our families, friends and neighbors.

For added protection in these winter months, I urge everyone to get up to date on all vaccines, keep each other safe, and enjoy a happy, healthy 2022.

Julie Munson, DO FAOCO, Otolaryngology

Kearny County Hospital