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COVID vaccine rollout still a work in progress

Published: Dec. 15, 2020 at 6:57 PM EST
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The plan to get the COVID vaccine from the manufacturers into hospitals, assisted-living homes, pharmacies and Americans’ arms is still filled with unknowns.

So much depends on how much vaccine states get, and how quickly.

With the vaccines Kentucky does have, healthcare workers who are on the front lines are getting vaccinated first. So much is still up in the air on who is going to get the vaccines next. Over the next few months, the word “phase” will be used a lot.

“This is simply about the fact that they are still producing this vaccine,” UofL Health’s Dr. Jason Smith said. “You are talking about vaccinating in the U.S. 300 million people. There are not 300 million doses of the vaccine to start with.”

Smith said he believes that over the course of six or eight months, there will be, but in the meantime, groups of people most impacted by the virus right now get the vaccine first.

“Physicians and nurses, environmental services people, respiratory therapists, physical therapists,” Smith said. “Everyone interacting with patients on hospital floors to care for them will be in the first or first set of vaccines we are providing over the course of the next course of four to six weeks.”

In Kentucky, the goal is that around Dec. 21, vaccinations will start happening in longterm-care facilities, and in a couple of months, all residents and staff will be vaccinated.

Smith said first responders and other healthcare workers who may not be high risk also will be vaccinated early on. Possibly around February, March or April, there will be phase two.

“School teachers, professors, essential workers across the community in phase two, and then rolling out into some of the general population of phase three by this overall plan by the state and city,” Smith said.

Phase two also includes retail and transportation workers. This group also could include people in homeless shelters and all people over 65 who were not already included in phase one. Many of those details are still being sorted out.

Young adults and children will have to wait until around springtime to be vaccinated.

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