Governor Andy Beshear says a growing number of vaccinated Kentuckians are contracting COVID-19, highlighting the importance of getting a booster dose.
During a briefing from the state Capitol on Thursday, the governor and First Lady Britainy Beshear led by example and received their booster shots. Beshear said boosters not only shield people from the virus as immunity lessens over time, but also protect against the next variant.
“If we had another rise in COVID, there would be fewer people getting infected and spreading the infection," explained Beshear. "It will also lessen the person who has gotten the booster’s likelihood of being hospitalized, further decreasing the death toll.”
Booster doses are recommended for those ages 65 and older. Also eligible are those over age 18 living in long-term group settings, those with underlying health conditions and those exposed to other people through work.
Boosters also apply to recipients of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, with a booster recommended for them at least two months after the vaccination.
Beshear announced 1,398 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and 30 deaths. The state's positivity rate stands at 5.03%.
Meanwhile, a number of pharmacy chains plan to start giving the COVID-19 vaccine to children under 12 this weekend.
The rollout of the vaccine for five to 11-year-olds will not be as limited as it was initially for adults, but Kentuky Public Health Commissioner Steven Stack stressed patience as the vaccine is shipped to pediatrician offices, pharmacies, and hospitals. He added the Pfizer vaccine for those under 12 will be widely available within a few weeks.
Acknowledging there may be hesitancy from parents, Dr. Stack said the vaccine was studied in 3,000 children and none showed signs of myocarditis or other cardiac issues.
“There also were no other serious of adverse events, and the children tolerated the vaccine with fewer side effects than the adults," explained Stack.
Speaking alongside Stack, Governor Andy Beshear said his 11-year-old daughter will get the vaccine on Monday.
The vaccine is one-third the dose given to older children and adults, and administered by smaller needles. The pediatric vaccine requires two doses three weeks apart, plus two more weeks to develop full protection. That means children who get vaccinated before Thanksgiving will be covered by Christmas.