Gov. Beshear: All essential workers can get the first COVID-19 vaccine dose by the first week of February

Posted at 5:08 PM, Jan 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-14 17:12:52-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Anyone who is considered by the CDC as an essential worker will be eligible to get their first dose of the vaccine by the first week of February, Governor Andy Beshear says.

The governor announced a partnership with Kroger, which includes opening up drive-thru vaccination centers in regions across Kentucky. The regional areas are going to open the week of February 1. At that time, anyone who is included in Phase 1a, 1b, or 1c of the vaccine rollout can sign-up to get their first dose, which includes all essential workers.

The state's vaccine phases are:

  • Phase 1a: Long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities, health care personnel
  • Phase 1b: First responders, Kentuckians age >= 70, K-12 school personnel
  • Phase 1c: Kentuckians age >= 60, anyone older than 16 with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highest-risk conditions for COVID-19, all essential workers
  • Phase 2: Age >= 40
  • Phase 3: Age >= 16
  • Phase 4: Children under the age of 16 if the vaccine is approved for this age group (estimated to comprise 18% of Kentucky's population)

"Phase 1C" includes all essential workers as defined by the CDC:

Frontline Essential Workers:

  • Healthcare Personnel
  • First Responders (Firefighters, Police)
  • Corrections
  • Education (teachers, support staff, daycare)
  • Food & Agriculture
  • Manufacturing
  • U.S. Postal service workers
  • Public transit workers
  • Grocery store workers

Other Essential Workers:

  • Transportation and logistics
  • Food Service Shelter & Housing (construction)
  • Finance
  • IT & Communication
  • Energy
  • Media
  • Legal
  • Public Safety (Engineers)
  • Water & Wastewater

It also includes anyone 16 or older with any of the following conditions:

  • Cancer
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
  • Down Syndrome
  • Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease, or cardiomyopathies
  • Immunocompromised state (weakened immune system) from solid organ transplant
  • Obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 30 kg/m2 or higher but < 40 kg/m2)
  • Severe Obesity (BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2)
  • Pregnancy
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Smoking
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray, who as of Thursday also serves as the state's director of vaccine distribution, said the site locations will be announced in the coming weeks.

The state will also establish a registration website and hotline to find out when they're eligible and to schedule vaccine appointments. The website and hotline could be up and accepting appointments starting Jan. 28, Gray said.

“Everyone will have their turn," Gray said. "This project announced today will get the vaccine in every arm that wants it as quickly and safely as possible. Meanwhile, as the governor has said routinely, keep wearing your masks, social distancing and washing your hands.”

Kroger Health's Meggen Brown said that vaccine sites will later expand into the Kroger network's Little Clinics and pharmacies in stores, with more details coming Jan. 28.

"Kroger stands behind this vaccine," she said. "We are strongly encouraging all customers and associates to receive the vaccine to curb the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, and we’ll do all we can to ensure there is access as soon as it is available."

For any K-12 personnel interested in getting the vaccine, the governor also announced the first round of vaccinations will be complete by the end of the week of February 1.

"Our vaccination efforts are increasing at a rapid pace," said Gov. Beshear. "That has allowed us to not only do the planning but to start some of these vaccinations."

The announcement means any essential worker could be fully vaccinated by early to mid-March.

As of Thursday, more than 172,000 vaccine doses have been administered in Kentucky.