coronavirus vaccine

J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday how the first shipments of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine will be dispersed throughout Kentucky.

At his briefing, Beshear said he expects the vaccine to be available as early as Dec. 15. The first shipment will include about 38,000 vaccinations.

Two-thirds of the shipment will go to long-term care facilities through a program operated by CVS and Walgreens. The rest will go to hospitals for frontline healthcare workers.

Millions of Americans who are expected to receive the new COVID-19 vaccinations in coming months will need to take two doses of the drug – and the U.S. government says it will issue a vaccine card and use other tools to help people follow through with their immunizations.

Health care workers are expected to be first in line to be offered a COVID-19 vaccine when one is available.

It makes sense: Getting a safe, effective vaccine would help keep them and their patients healthy. Seeing doctors, nurses and medical aides getting COVID-19 vaccines would also set an example for the community.

Marty Osbourn, Kentucky Pediatric/Adult Research COO

Kentucky expects to receive about 115,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in two shipments beginning in December.

The commonwealth recorded more cases of COVID-19 in November than at any other point in the pandemic. Medical experts expect those numbers will climb even higher in the coming weeks due to holiday travel, but it appears fortune has begun to turn in the state’s favor.

Kentucky is set to receive 38,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine in its first shipment and another roughly 76,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine later in December, said Gov. Andy Beshear. That’s about three times fewer doses than the state initially expected to get.

A coronavirus vaccine consists of an initial injection, followed by a booster shot. Beshear said boosters should arrive three weeks after the first batch of shots. Together, medical experts have found these vaccines to be more than 90 percent effective.

The biotech company Moderna released new data Monday morning that strengthens the case for its COVID-19 vaccine. It concludes the vaccine is 94% effective — and strongly protects against serious illness. Based on these latest findings, the company plans to submit an application for emergency use authorization to the Food and Drug Administration today.

Lisa Autry

If you eventually get vaccinated against the coronavirus, a Western Kentucky University professor had a small hand in helping researchers learn more about how to create an effective vaccine.

Psychological Sciences Professor Matt Woodward took part in biotech company Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine trials

In an interview with WKU Public Radio, Woodward said he's been touched personally by the virus.  His parents and one set of grandparents, living in different states, contracted the virus at the same time shortly after he began participating in the trial.

Woodward took part in the study through Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.  He says he got two injections one month apart this fall, and has had no side effects.  He's unaware of whether he received the actual vaccine or was in the placebo group.

Early data shows that two COVID-19 vaccines are over 90% effective. So what’s next? We follow the vaccine’s journey from testing to public distribution.


Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, medical director for immunizations for the Arkansas Department of Health. (@ADHPIO)


Tennessee has been chosen as one of four states in Pfizer’s pilot program to deliver its coronavirus vaccine. The drug company announced last week that its vaccine had been more than 90% effective in phase three trials.

Pfizer is facing distribution challenges due to its ultra-cold storage requirements. The vaccine must be kept at minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 Fahrenheit).

Gov. Bill Lee said in a tweet Tuesday that Tennessee was chosen because of the state’s ability to build out a strong infrastructure.

A second COVID-19 vaccine now also appears highly effective in preventing illness following exposure to the virus that causes the disease.

The biotech company Moderna Inc. said Monday that its experimental vaccine was 94.5% effective in preventing disease, according to an analysis of its clinical trial.

The news comes a week after Pfizer and BioNTech said their vaccine was more than 90% effective.

Marty Osbourn, Kentucky Pediatric/Adult Research COO

Medical researchers in Kentucky are expressing excitement about the prospect of a coronavirus vaccine.

Pfizer announced on Monday its research has shown positive results in an ongoing vaccine trial. Early analysis of the potential vaccine shows that it has been more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19.

Marty Osbourn, the chief operating officer and research director at Kentucky Pediatric/Adult Research (KPAR) in Bardstown, has administered the vaccine trial for Pfizer over the past few months. Until now, she had not seen much data on the results, but Monday’s announcement was “exciting,” she said.

“When I heard 90%, I was ecstatic,” she said. “I’ve been waiting very anxiously to find out any data…A 90% efficacy rate is a very high rate for vaccines.”

A top U.S. Army general who is co-leading the federal COVID-19 vaccine initiative anticipates that the first of millions of Americans could start receiving COVID-19 vaccines as soon as next month.

Blake Farmer | WPLN

When a vaccine for COVID-19 is approved for use, it will be the state government who determines who gets it first. All states were required to submit their draft plans to federal authorities by this week. Tennessee will distribute its allotment based mostly on population, not severity of recent outbreaks.

At first, the priority will be inoculating health care workers and first responders, then the elderly and those who live in congregant settings — including prisons. Whether someone has had COVID won’t matter, according to the planners, since so little is known about the duration of immunity.

Tennessee does expect to hold on to roughly 10% of its vaccine supply in order to respond to hotspots or communities that may run out prematurely.

Marty Osbourn, Kentucky Pediatric/Adult Research COO

Kentucky officials have announced a draft plan for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines as first shipments become available later this year or early 2021.

The Kentucky Department for Public Health (KPDH), part of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, submitted an initial, comprehensive plan to the CDC last week. Included in the 49-page report are guidelines for vaccine management, tiering for distribution and logistical support.

“The federal government provided a detailed plan for how states should distribute the vaccine, once all safety trials are completed, and the commonwealth’s plan closely mimics their recommendation,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a statement. “Protecting the health and lives of our Kentucky families remains our top priority as we battle COVID-19 and as vaccines arrive.”


Back in spring, Indiana State Rep. Ed Clere began recognizing the severity of the coronavirus pandemic that was taking hold throughout the United States. He said the effects of COVID-19 were already taking a “devastating toll,” and he felt a calling to help any way he could.

“And looking at projections, I knew time was of the essence,” Clere said. “And I felt like I could do something by volunteering.”

Clere and his wife, Amy, signed up for vaccine trials online. Months went by without hearing anything, but around August, a family friend told Amy about an opportunity across the Ohio River in Kentucky. Now, the Clere family, including 19-year-old daughter Hannah, are participating in trials at the Kentucky Pediatric/Adult Research (KPAR) in Bardstown.

Updated at 6:50 p.m. ET

President Trump on Wednesday again said widespread distribution of a vaccine against the coronavirus would happen before the end of the year, directly contradicting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield. The CDC chief testified earlier Wednesday that a vaccine would not be widely available until next spring or summer.

Trump said he expects the government to be able to distribute a vaccine "sometime in October," though "it may be a little later than that."