'No doses wasted': LFCHD addresses rumors about COVID-19 vaccine supply

Posted at 9:45 AM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 19:16:58-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Officials from the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department and Mayor Linda Gorton’s office worked quickly to extinguish the thought that any COVID-19 vaccine doses might be going to waste in Lexington.

“We’ve seen national reports of people wasting vaccine, or destroying vaccine,” said Kevin Hall with the health department. “But that is not the case here,” he stressed before sharing that the department has received 2,500 doses, and administered that same number.

Gorton said the same about wasted vials, as did a spokesperson from UK Health Care. Last week, in response to an email inquiry, the spokesperson noted that not a single dose had been discarded.

Working through the process of vaccinating all of those in group 1A, which includes health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities, is something that can be debated as the process is taking some time.

“Here in Lexington the response has been overwhelming with the demand,” Hall said. “When we open up our registration to health care workers it’s typically filling up in three to four hours.”

Gorton warned of an even greater challenge once it’s time to move into the next phase of distribution with group 1B.

“It has a huge number of people. Way more than 1A, so it’s going to take quite a while to work through 1B,” Gorton said.

Gorton announced Tuesday the formation of a vaccine task force in Lexington, which will be spearheaded by Health Commissioner, Dr. Kraigh Humbaugh, and a career logistics expert Chuck Mix, who’s done this type of large-scale work for companies in Lexington and across the country.

“They have a workgroup that’s focused on communication and education. They have a workgroup focused on scheduling and a workgroup focused on administrative support. It’s a huge task, because we have 325,000 people here,” Gorton said.

The task force will work to get the vaccine out as quickly and efficiently as possible. But they can only work with what they have.

“The federal government owns the vaccine,” Gorton said. “So they determine how much each state gets, and then the state distributes to the cities.”

Gorton said 15,000 health care workers across the county have been given the first dose of the vaccine thus far, and that number rises when you add all of those given at long-term care facilities in town.

“The demand is there,” Hall said. “We’re trying to keep up with it but we are getting limited doses here at the health department.”

2,500 so far. And each one of those has been injected into an arm. Hall was adamant when stressing that point.

The LFCHD is scheduled to hold another vaccine clinic this Wednesday at the Consolidated Baptist Church on Russell Cave Road. It’s for those health care workers who haven’t yet been able to take advantage.