MCKEE, Ky. (LEX 18) — Kentucky’s coronavirus cases are increasing after weeks of steady decline, according to state data.
This is happening as health officials nationwide are renewing urgent calls for unvaccinated Americans to get their shot with the highly contagious Delta variant spreading through the United States.
In Kentucky, approximately two million people, or 44 percent of the population, have been fully vaccinated in the 29 weeks since the first COVID-19 vaccines began rolling out.
While the number of Kentuckians vaccinated against the coronavirus grows larger every day, some counties are struggling to get people to roll up their sleeves. Others are steadily inching to the 70 percent experts estimate is needed to reach herd immunity.
Christie Green, the director of the Cumberland Valley Health Department, said they’ve been experiencing low turnout recently in Clay, Jackson, and Rockcastle counties.
“We’re vaccinating relatively few people per week. Sometimes less than 100 a week,” Green said.
LEX 18 News took a county-by-county look at COVID-19 vaccination rates throughout Kentucky.
Six counties have been successful in fully vaccinating more than 50 percent of their population, according to the most recent CDC data:
FRANKLIN - 60%
WOODFORD - 58%
FAYETTE - 55%
JEFFERSON - 51%
BOONE - 50%
CAMPBELL - 50%
There are 15 counties where less than 30 percent of people have received both doses of the vaccine:
Spencer - 20%
Christian - 23%
Jackson - 23%
Lewis - 24%
Elliott - 24%
Casey - 25%
Ballard - 25%
Hart - 25%
Knox - 26%
Hickman - 26%
Clinton - 26%
Crittenden - 27%
Carlisle - 27%
Rockcastle - 27%
Metcalfe - 28%
“We are at a high risk now of a localized outbreak of COVID-19 because of our low vaccination rates,” Green said. “We’re acting in our communities as if we are back to normal when COVID-19 remains a significant risk for those that are unvaccinated.”
During a White House COVID-19 response team press briefing on Thursday, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC, said preliminary data from several states indicated 99.5 percent of recent coronavirus deaths are from unvaccinated patients.
Low turn-out rates at mass vaccination clinics are forcing the Cumberland Valley Health Department to get creative with their strategy for reaching unvaccinated persons, according to Green.
The health department is partnering with local pharmacies and doctors' offices to make the vaccine readily accessible.
“We’re finding that individuals are more open to the idea of vaccinating if they hear that from their general practitioner or their family care doctor,” Green said.
Green said they are also working with businesses to vaccinate willing Kentuckians in their workplace.
Green said they are also willing to work to bring the vaccine to people’s homes if they are not able to travel.
“If I have to send staff out one at a time to vaccinate those that are willing to take it, we will do that because that’s one more person that we hopefully have prevented from becoming very sick if they were to catch COVID-19,” Green said.
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