LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — 14.3 million people in the United States have received their initial COVID-19 vaccines.
The Pfizer vaccine's first shipment arrived in Kentucky on Dec. 14, and the state initiated Phase 1a of its vaccine rollout plan.
In 38 days, 208,664 Kentuckians have received their initial shot of hope as of Jan. 20, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This makes up 4.7% of the state's population.
13,829 people in the Commonwealth have received their booster shot and are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Jan. 20, according to the CDC.
Dr. Melissa Thompson Bastin, a clinical pharmacist at UK Healthcare, said her experiences getting both doses of the Pfizer vaccine were painless, symptomless, and unexpectedly emotional.
"I almost cried when I got it," said Thompson Bastin. "I was like, 'Wow, I can't believe I just got a vaccine for this virus that has killed so many people and uprooted so many lives and just changed the way we're practicing medicine basically, for the last ten months.'"
The decision to be vaccinated was easy for Thompson Bastin because she's witnessed firsthand the pain COVID-19 can cause its victims in the intensive care unit.
"This disease is so devastating," she said. "I would encourage people to take the vaccine because this is what we have to do. We have to stop this pandemic, and this is how it's going to happen."
To get the vaccine to as many people as possible, local health departments will need to overcome logistical and supply challenges and tackle misinformation and vaccine hesitancy.
"The side effects of the vaccine are minimal, compared to what you could be saving yourself, your family members, and your loved ones from, so please take the vaccine," said Thompson Bastin. "You do not want to catch COVID. It is not better than taking the vaccine. It is a life-changing infection."
On Thursday, Gov. Andy Beshear announced 1,604 Kentuckians are hospitalized with coronavirus-related complications. 3,301 people have died in the Commonwealth from COVID-19. 41,469 people have recovered.