FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) – Thousands of people in Kentucky could be rolling up their sleeves for a free COVID-19 vaccine as soon as mid-December.
During his daily coronavirus briefing, Gov. Andy Beshear announced the expected arrival of a virus vaccine. Beshear and State Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack also went into detail on the state’s plan to distribute its first shipment of immunizations to vulnerable populations.
“After all that we have been through, and all that we have lost and all the people that we are going to miss, we have a chance to beat this thing,” Beshear said.
The governor explained the speed at which Kentucky receives the vaccine comes down to approvals. Both Pfizer and Moderna are currently seeking emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for their vaccines, with both reported to be highly effective.
The FDA will discuss Pfizer’s emergency use request Dec. 10. Once approved, Pfizer’s vaccine could arrive as early as mid-December, with 38,025 doses expected to be available. Moderna’s vaccine could arrive two weeks after Pfizer’s, with 76,700 doses expected to be available.
Upon arrival, Pfizer’s vaccine will go to two different groups. Group 1 includes residents and staff at long-term care facilities; Walgreens and CVS will distribute 26,000 doses to people in that group. Group 2 includes front-line healthcare professionals; certain state facilities will distribute 12,000 doses to people in that group.
Beshear said he discussed that distribution plan with doctors and they agreed it achieved two priorities.
“If we can protect our long term care residents, they don’t end up being hospitalized, we end up having more capacity in those facilities,” he said.
The state is currently practicing how vaccines will be distributed by testing shipments from Pfizer. Beshear said now more than ever he wants people in Kentucky to follow safety guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“The light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter and brighter, that’s also why I need you to keep fighting,” he said.
The governor also indicated that teachers would be among the next groups to receive the vaccine.
Beshear explained there will soon be a communications campaign to promote the vaccine. He claimed he and his entire family will take the vaccine to show people it can be trusted.