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Kentucky Slightly Exceeding National Vaccination Rate Even As Doses Go Unused

More than 1.5 million Kentuckians have so far received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but when it comes to fully vaccinated individuals, rates vary greatly among the state's 120 counties, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of Apr. 8, Kentucky had fully vaccinated 20.6% of its total population, slightly higher than the national rate of 19.9%.  Only eight Kentucky counties had fully vaccinated at least a quarter of their total populations. 

People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and two weeks after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

CDC figures released on Thursday show Woodford County has the highest rate of fully vaccinated residents in Kentucky at 31.3%, followed by Fayette and Pike counties at 28.7% and 28.5%, respectively.  Rounding out the top ten most vaccinated counties are Franklin, Perry, Letcher, Floyd, Hancock, Nicholas, and Lyon.

CDC data suggest Spencer County has Kentucky’s lowest rate of fully vaccinated individuals at 9.4%, followed by Christian at 10.5%, and Casey County at 11.6%. 

Ballard, Wayne, Elliott, Lewis, Hart, Hickman Todd counties round out the top ten least vaccinated counties. 

Gov. Andy Beshear on Thursday pleaded with Kentuckians to get immunized, as 42% of doses went unused last week.  During a virtual briefing, Beshear said demand is still shy of meeting the increasing supply of vaccine.

“While we vaccinated 125,510 new Kentuckians, we received about 214,000 new doses,” Beshear explained.

Many of Kentucky's larger vaccination sites have a significant number of openings for next week, including 2,000 at Greenwood Mall in Bowling Green.

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Every Kentuckian 16 and older is now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.  Health experts encourage everyone to get injected as soon as possible so fewer variants have the opportunity to form, and because vaccinations are ultimately Kentucky’s ticket out of the pandemic.


Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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