Some Kentucky teachers already vaccinated despite February’s scheduled rollout plan

Some Kentucky teachers already vaccinated despite February’s scheduled rollout plan

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - Some Kentucky teachers have already received COVID-19 vaccines despite the state’s rollout for school employees not scheduled to begin until February.

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) reported it is currently aware of at least six school districts that have offered vaccines to some school staff including Ballard County Public Schools, Taylor County Public Schools, Campbellsville Independent Schools, Bowling Green Independent District, Warren County Public Schools, and Christian County Schools. A KDE spokesperson could not confirm how many employees had been vaccinated.

In a KDE superintendent’s webcast Tuesday, Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack revealed some districts worked with local health departments to vaccinate school staff earlier than anticipated.

Teachers in Kentucky are included in the second phase of vaccination (1b), which is not expected to begin until early February.

“That had been our target and that went off the rails right away because we started having communities take their own independent actions and even entities that had no role in this project. They were doing it to try and be helpful,” Stack said. “Everyone here is trying to do the best they can to be helpful to their communities; I’m grateful for that, I appreciate the spirit of community. But it makes it impossible to execute a program this complex.”

Stack said he originally envisioned a rollout where school districts and pharmacies partnered to distribute vaccines. On Tuesday, however, he explained that every county in the state would now need their own custom program, which would take time to create.

Stack said the state is committed to giving all K-12 staff who want the vaccine and at least one opportunity to receive it by the end of February. School employees would receive a booster shot four weeks later.

“I would just ask people to understand with a spirit and a heartful of gratitude just how special and unique this is the priority that’s been placed in Kentucky to ensure our educational staff are protected as much as we can,” he said, “and that our kids can get back to school as quickly as possible in the safest possible environment.”

Stack reported Tuesday that at least 83,000 school staff across the state have requested a vaccination. However, he believes that the number could be many more, as high as 120,000.

Kentucky receives 53,700 doses of vaccines per week, according to public health officials.

“We only have this much to give, and we’re trying to find a way that we can spread that as equitably across the state as we can,” Kentucky Public Health Deputy Commissioner Dr. Connie White said. “That’s just not going to make anybody happy because people that aren’t getting it are not going to be happy.”

Stack said he would distribute a vaccine production schedule to Kentucky schools by the end of the week.

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