A U.S. Congressman from southern Kentucky says the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations in the state is "phenomenal" and improving every day.
Rep. Brett Guthrie of Bowling Green toured a vaccination site at the T.J. Samson Health Pavilion in Barren County on Monday.
"This is something to see come to fruition. It just shows when people really work together, they don't let partisanship or other things get in the way, we can make big things happen," Guthrie said. "Lines were really long in Janaury, and now people can call and get almost a same-day appointment to come here."
The T.J. Regional Health system has given out more than 11,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine since the end of December at its locations in Glasgow and Columbia.
The clinic is open for vaccinations Wednesday and Friday for the next two weeks, and will then only be open on Fridays. You can make an appointment at tjregionalhealth.org or by calling the clinic at 270-659-1010.
Guthrie, who has an insider's perspective on the COVID-19 vaccine, is hoping to improve hesitancy toward getting the injections. A national poll taken in January by the Kaiser Family Foundation found doubt about vaccines higher in rural areas.
As a member of the congressional committee overseeing the vaccine’s development, Rep. Guthrie said no shortcuts were taken in terms of safety or efficacy. The Bowling Green Republican said the vaccine’s rapid release was the product of developing technology.
"There’s a company out of Germany (BioNTech) that teamed up with Pfizer that said, 'We think we can take our technology and produce a vaccine in record time,' and they were able to do it," Guthrie said. "But it’s not something that happened overnight. It’s based on improvements in science and vaccines over the last decade.”
Guthrie is scheduled to visit the vaccine clinic at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital on Tuesday, and The Medical Center's vaccination site in Bowling Green on Wednesday.
Kentucky is now vaccinating residents ages 16 and older. Sixteen and 17-year-olds are only eligible for the Pfizer vaccine. The Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for individuals 18 and older.
According to Governor Andy Beshear, more than 1.4 million Kentuckians have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose so far.