NewsLEX 18 In-Depth


State's COVID-19 numbers prove vaccines are effective, slowing virus spread

Posted at 3:23 PM, Jun 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-16 18:47:49-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The COVID-19 vaccine appears to be working.

“It is one of the most amazing scientific inventions in my lifetime as far as medicine goes,” said Dr. Ashley Montgomery-Yates of the University of Kentucky’s Albert Chandler Hospital.

Dr. Montgomery-Yates has been on the front line since last March.

“We have taken a disease that was devastating the human population and virtually eliminated it,” she continued.

She isn’t being overly dramatic. LEX 18 obtained the COVID-19 numbers from the state health cabinet, which has been keeping a record of vaccinated cases and unvaccinated cases from March 1 through May 31. During those ninety days, more than 40,000 unvaccinated Kentuckians contracted the virus. 446 of those people passed away. In comparison to those who were vaccinated, but contracted coronavirus, the number drops to 1,148.

“It’s not shocking to us at all. This information is what we’re seeing (here) as well,” Dr. Montgomery-Yates added.

Across Fayette County, eligible residents have been very good about seeking out and receiving the vaccine, so that the administration rate is dropping isn’t a surprise to the health department, but officials there know the slow-down is due in part to peoples’ reluctance.

“Talk to your provider, talk to your doctor, or nurse, or pharmacist you see on a regular basis. Make decisions based on the people who care for you,” said Kevin Hall from the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.

Dr. Montgomery-Yates wonders why someone would seek her expertise once contracting the virus, but not take her advice when discussing the best way to prevent yourself from catching it. UK’s Chandler hospital has been seeing those patients who’ve been the sickest of the sick because of the kind of advanced care the hospital can offer that many others in the state can’t.

“We buried a lot of people here at Chandler. A lot. So we have told a lot of people,” the doctor said while describing how horrible it has been to tell families a loved one won’t survive or to tell a patient his/her lungs are forever damaged.

“We’re seeing fewer cases, and burying less people although it’s a little bit sadder now because, when I have to have this conversation in my ICU, it could’ve been prevented,” she explained.

Dr. Montgomery-Yates hopes to soon begin lending her expertise to something other than this virus. And she basically said so in no uncertain terms.

“You don’t need my expertise in how to care for you. Just go get the vaccine at your local pharmacy!”

If you don’t believe her, just go look at the numbers.