FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — During his Thursday press conference, Gov. Andy Beshear announced the plan for Kentucky's initial distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine.
"We believe that we will have our first set of vaccines pretty close to after the FDA gives emergency authorization," Gov. Beshear said. "We believe that we can be vaccinating people here in Kentucky as early as December 15."
Gov. Beshear explained that about two thirds of the first shipment of 38,000 doses will go to long-term care facilities. The other third of vaccines will be distributed to eleven hospitals in Kentucky.
"It is a fairly small amount as compared to healthcare workers across Kentucky," Gov. Beshear said. "These are just the first eleven sites that are going to receive them."
The eleven hospitals that will receive the initial shipment of doses are listed below:
Lourde's Hospital (Paducah)
Pikeville Medical Center
University of Kentucky Hospital
Baptist Health (Madisonville)
Baptist Health (Louisville)
St. Elizabeth Healthcare (Edgewood)
Baptist Health (Corbin)
Baptist Health (Lexington)
Norton Hospital (Louisville)
Medical Center (Bowling Green)
University of Louisville Hospital
Gov. Beshear explained that those eleven sites were chosen because they were large enough to handle the minimum size of the Pfizer vaccine that shipped, which is 975 doses.
"You can't get a shipment that is less than that," Gov. Beshear said.
Nine of the eleven hospitals will receive the minimum 975 doses, while University of Kentucky Hospital and Norton Hospital (Louisville) will both receive double that amount (1,950 doses).
“I think we all know that this is one of those vital steps to get back to some type of normalcy for us,” said Dee Beckman, the executive director for outcomes at Baptist Health Lexington. “So we’re excited to be able to offer that to our employees here.”
Beckman said the rollout of the 975 doses at Baptist Health will mirror that of the flu vaccine, which is mandatory at the hospital.
The vaccine for COVID-19 will be recommended, but not mandatory, according to Beckman.
“For the COVID vaccine, we have prioritized our staff based on the highest risk for their job that they conduct here at the hospital,” said Beckman.
The goal, she said, is to eventually vaccinate the approximately 2,800 employees at the hospital.
"While this is very fast, it is still going to take some time,” Beckman cautioned. “We will still have to wear PPE in the facilities and we still ask everybody to continue to wear a mask.”