Kentucky making plans for distributing coronavirus vaccines

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky is finalizing its plans for distributing the coronavirus vaccine when it is available, and Gov. Andy Beshear shared some of those plans on Monday.

The state expects its first shipment of about 38,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to arrive in mid-December, to be followed by 76,700 doses of the Moderna vaccine about two weeks later.

The first people to get the vaccine will fall into two groups — long-term care residents and front-line medical workers.

Gov. Beshear says 26,000 doses of the first shipment will go to long-term care residents, while the remaining 12,000 doses will go to high-priority medical workers in every area of the state.

Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack says protecting long-term care residents first will ease the strain on hospitals and have compounding returns.

“In the state of Kentucky, [nursing homes are] where two-thirds of our deaths have occurred,” Dr. Stack said. “So, 66 percent of our deaths in Kentucky have been nursing home residents. Additionally, nursing home residents go to hospitals usually before they pass away and are high-intensity health care users, so this is when hospitals get overrun. Third, nursing homes have to go through a lot of personal protective equipment when they have outbreaks and they have to consume a lot of testing resources when they have outbreaks.

“If we were to vaccinate that population first, it has numerous multiplying benefits. Preserving avoidable death, so keeping people alive who would otherwise die from this. Two, unburdening hospitals and minimizing the risk of health care system overload. So that means everybody, not just COVID patients, but COVID patients and non-COVID patients have access to a functioning health care system. Reducing exposure to health care workers to the disease, so indirectly protecting more health care workers. And then sparing PPE and test consumption, which are both very costly. So there are a lot of added benefits.”

The latest numbers show more than 2,100 new cases reported on Monday, bringing the total to more than 179,000.

Twelve more Kentuckians have died, raising the death toll to 1,908.
More than 1,700 people are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, including 421 in intensive care and 229 on ventilators.

The state’s positivity rate is currently 9.42 percent.