All essential workers will be eligible to be vaccinated in Kentucky starting March 1

Group hopes to fight vaccine skepticism in the Black community ahead of potential COVID-19 vaccine
Posted at 4:16 PM, Feb 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-22 17:02:18-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Governor Andy Beshear has announced that regional vaccination centers will move to phase 1c, which includes all essential workers, starting on March 1.

"We expect the local health departments and others will also begin vaccinating 1c individuals, but we're going to be asking them to be more targeted," said Gov. Beshear.

The governor says health officials are work on getting in contact with individuals in groups 1a and 1b that may be more difficult to reach as they vaccinate others in group 1c.

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

During his Monday press conference, Gov. Beshear also announced that only 530 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in Kentucky.

"That is the lowest number since October 5," Gov. Beshear noted.

Monday's positivity rate was 6.60%.

Gov. Beshear also announced 13 new coronavirus-related deaths, bringing Kentucky's coronavirus-related death total to 4,460.

"Again, testing was certainly down last week. It could've impacted cases, we're just going to have to see as we go," Gov. Beshear said. "But the fact that our positivity rate, even after last week, is still down, is a real positive sign."

Specific numbers for Kentuckians hospitalized, in the ICU and on a ventilator for coronavirus-related reasons were not given, but Gov. Beshear said those numbers continue to go down.