Ben Tobin, Louisville Courier Journal Published 1:27 p.m. ET Oct. 17, 2020
Kentucky is expecting to receive its first federal shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine in in late 2020 or early 2021 — but it will likely take a year or more to get that vaccine to the Bluegrass State's 4.4 million residents, the commissioner of the state's Department for Public Health said Friday.
Dr. Steven Stack announced that Kentucky submitted an initial comprehensive draft to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Friday on how the state plans to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to local health departments and health care organizations.
“The first phase of the plan will help ensure those most at risk — certain health care workers and first responders — have access to the vaccination,” Stack said. “The plan will accommodate vaccinating these essential workers in every county across the commonwealth.”
Whenever the vaccine is approved, supplies will be "limited at first," which is why the commonwealth will have a phased approach to distributing the vaccine, Stack said.
The vaccine will be shipped to Kentucky from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Defense when it becomes available.
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Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said the federal government provided a plan for how states should distribute the vaccine once it becomes available, and that Kentucky's plan "closely mimics their recommendation."
“Protecting the health and lives of our Kentucky families remains our top priority as we battle COVID-19 and as vaccines arrive," Beshear said.
As of Friday afternoon, more than 85,000 Kentuckians have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the onset of the pandemic in March. The deadly virus has claimed the lives of 1,300 people in the Bluegrass State.
Eric Friedlander, secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services, said in a statement that it is imperative for Kentuckians to get the COVID-19 vaccine as well as all other recommended vaccines.
"Vaccines are the best way we have to prevent infectious disease," Friedlander said. "A successful immunization program depends on the cooperation of every person.”
State officials are continuing to encourage everyone to observe social distancing, wear a mask and practice hand hygiene.
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