FRANKFORT, Ky. – The state is expecting to receive approximately 38,000 doses of the vaccine against COVID-19 as early as mid-December, according to Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH).
“We can go ahead and provide the first of these shots, and then we will receive the booster shots about three weeks later,” Beshear said Monday. “We will be ready on moment one that we’re able to provide these vaccines.”
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines both require an initial shot followed by a booster shot.
While the number of doses and allocation plan are subject to change, the governor said as of Monday, the majority of the state’s initial vaccine shipment will go to long-term care (LTC) facilities; about 12,000 doses will go to hospitals to help inoculate health care workers.
“Every week we do not vaccinate long-term care residents, we lose them. With vaccines, we can provide such better protection to these individuals,” Beshear said. “We’ve been taking aggressive steps since the beginning of this virus, committed to fighting back, not surrendering to it or accepting avoidable loss.”
The state’s immediate goal is reducing COVID-19 deaths. With 66% of the deaths coming from LTC facilities, vaccines could help significantly decrease Kentucky’s COVID-19 death toll beginning in January, he said. Also, because LTC residents tend to require the most care, vaccinations in LTC facilities will help reduce COVID-19’s burden on Kentucky’s health care system.
This week, the state is participating in an end-to-end exercise with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Pfizer and McKesson to test one shipment of an empty thermal shipping container and a mock ancillary kit to one clinic site, the University of Kentucky Medical Center. This test run will help the state prepare for the initial vaccine distribution to LTC and health care facilities; the initial distribution will, in turn, prepare the commonwealth for even larger, more complex distributions in the months ahead.
“There is an extensive process in play here. First of all, these companies had to build these vaccines, they had to do the research, they had to demonstrate that they were safe,” Stack said. “Concurrently, we’ve had to consider how we will use these vaccines when very small quantities are available at the beginning, but there are many, many people who need the vaccine. The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) is going to have an emergency meeting tomorrow to further refine their recommendations.
“There is a bright light at the end of the tunnel, but we’re not out of the woods yet. If we all mask up and socially distance, we can buy our hospitals the time they need.”
Kentuckians can visit the KYCOVID-19 website for more information on the vaccines, including the state’s draft plan and FAQs. A public service communication campaign is also expected to launch in December.
As of 4 p.m. Monday, Nov. 30, Gov. Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:
- New cases Monday: 2,124
- New deaths Monday: 12
- Positivity rate: 9.42%
- Total deaths: 1,908
- Currently hospitalized: 1,741
- Currently in ICU: 421
- Currently on ventilator: 229
The governor said this is the second highest Monday COVID-19 case report.
Top counties with the most positive cases today are: Jefferson, Fayette, Kenton, Daviess and Warren.
Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, said if you traveled or met with people outside of your household for Thanksgiving, you should “assume that you were exposed [to COVID-19] and you became infected and you really need to get tested in the next week.”
Team Kentucky Food and Beverage Relief Fund
More than 2,000 applications have been submitted, requesting nearly $19 million in aid.
“Our team of application processors is working diligently on each claim. They have been training and preparing for weeks to make sure we can help as many people as possible, as quickly as possible,” he said.
The fund has been designed to provide one-time grant awards of up to $10,000 per restaurant or bar, with a maximum of $20,000 to a business entity that operates multiple restaurants and bars. These grants are to be used as a reimbursement for business expenses incurred between March 6 and Dec. 31, 2020.
Reimbursable expenses include items like: rent, employee salaries, health insurance costs, inventory and personal protective equipment. To check eligibility, or to apply, visit teamkyfbrf.ky.gov.