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Lexington doctor says she's frustrated after weeks of searching for COVID-19 vaccine distribution information for staff

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Posted at 5:54 PM, Jan 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-10 21:30:13-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department (LFCHD) has published a form on their website for healthcare organizations eligible for the COVID-19 Vaccine under Phase 1A to get notifications about future vaccine clinics in the county.

Prior to the release of the form, Olive Health Direct Primary Care owner Dr. Erin Cooper said she spent weeks searching for information on how to get her staff vaccinated.

“It’s been frustrating trying to get answers,” she told LEX 18 News. “Other than the general updates, there just haven’t been any specifics about vaccine distribution or how to obtain the vaccine.”

Kentucky is currently under Phase 1a of their COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, which includes people in long term care facilities, assisted living facilities, and healthcare workers.

Dr. Cooper received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine through her part-time employment at a healthcare company in Pulaski County.

“When my husband and I got that first shot, it was the first breath of relief we’ve had in almost a year,” Dr. Cooper said. I think we felt like, ‘Okay, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel; this is really exciting; we’re moving back to getting back to normal.”

Olive Health Direct Primary Care is an office with two doctors and one medical assistant. Dr. Cooper explained one of the easiest ways to acquire the vaccine is to become a distributor, but they don’t have the adequate equipment for storing the COVID-19 vaccine, so they must rely on other organizations for receiving their doses.

Dr. Cooper said she’s contacted the LFCHD for information several times since the vaccine was first approved in Dec.

“Yes, I can check the websites all day long, but until I can hear a direct plan from my health department or my mayor or my local government, it doesn’t do me much good to check the website every day when there’s nothing there,” she said.

The LFCHD’s COVID-19 Vaccination Notification Form does not guarantee a vaccine appointment or dose. The information submitted will be used to contact health organizations with more information on the distribution process.

“We’re pushing on. We’re going to get it. We just need to know when and how,” Dr. Cooper said.

Kentucky will be advancing to Phase 1b on Feb. 1. This means eligibility for the vaccine expands to anyone age 70 or older, first responders, and K-12 school personnel.