COVID-19 vaccine

Owensboro Public Schools FB

The Owensboro and Daviess County school boards will meet Thursday afternoon to consider the districts' plans to return to a five-day schedule of in-person classes.

Both school systems plan to welcome students back full-time on March 22. 

In a joint news conference on Wednesday, the districts said a decrease in COVID-19 cases and an increasing supply of the vaccine make reopening possible. 

Daviess County Superintendent Matt Robbins said it’s important for teachers and staff to see students in-person for the remaining nine weeks of the school year.

“We know they need us, and frankly, we need them, Robbins said. "There’s a lot of needs of our children from academic to mental health, social, emotional, anxiety issues. We need to see them so we can begin to diagnose those needs.”

Creative Commons

The Kentucky Department of Education is preparing to administer state assessments this spring, despite disruptions in learning brought on by COVID-19. The tests are expected to reveal the impact of the pandemic on student achievement.

The U.S. Department of Education, so far, has not granted waivers on statewide testing as it did for the 2019-2020 school year. In a Sept. 3 letter to Chief State School Officers, then-Education Secretary Betsy DeVos wrote that states should not anticipate such waivers this academic year.

Kentucky administers tests in reading and mathematics in grades 3-8 and 10; in science at grades 4, 7 and 11; and in social studies and writing at grades 5, 8 and 11. 

In addition, students in 11th grade take a state administration of the ACT.

Lisa Autry

Governor Andy Beshear says Kentucky is in a position to receive an influx of the COVID-19 vaccine when the first major shipment arrives next month. 

Beshear visited a Kroger Health mass vaccination site in Bowling Green on Friday. The clinic has already vaccinated some 2,300 people in the week since it opened.  Beshear said the state is getting about 80,000 doses of the vaccine each week, but has the capability to administer more than a quarter-million doses per week. 

“We can build out the infrastructure to when we get several hundred-thousand vaccines a week, that we are capable of already providing, that we can get them out quickly and our citizens do not have to wait," Beshear said. 

Close to 300 total vaccination sites are open in Kentucky, including 28 new ones announced on Thursday.  The additional vaccination clinics include locations in Albany, Campbellsville, Hartford, Bardstown, Owensboro, Somerset, Leitchfield, and Russellville.

Lisa Autry

Some regional vaccination clinics in Kentucky are still offering the COVID-19 vaccine despite the winter storm. 

A clinic run by Kroger Health is open at Greenwood Mall in Bowling Green.  Bruce Kessler was there on Thursday and said he didn’t let the weather deter him from getting his first injection.  

“We’re fairly brave when we need to get out," Kessler said. "Front wheel drive vehicles are a marvelous creation, and I had been out yesterday and knew the roads were pretty okay where they had been scraped,   so I felt like we could get to the mall, no problem.”

Kessler received his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine with his twin 18-year-old daughters.  His wife and son who are both educators have already received both doses.

Ft. Knox

The Ft. Knox Army base has made substantial progress on getting its allotment of COVID-19 vaccine to patients.

The military installation first began administering the shots it received from the U.S. Dept. of Defense during the opening phases of its campaign on Jan. 6.

Dr. James Stephens, Chief of Preventive Medicine at Ft. Knox, said the Army post had administered 100% of the doses it had received within about two weeks.

"We are getting by-name lists regarding the military especially. We've already gone through several of the lists," Dr. Stephens said. "For the beneficiaries, those people who are active duty service members or family members who are high risk or otherwise, that is what the MEDDAC is working on right now."

Lisa Autry

Kentucky hospitals say they can’t keep up with demand for the COVID-19 vaccine.  A scarcity of supply has given hospitals thousands more appointments than they can accommodate. 

The Medical Center at Bowling Green has received more than 12,000 requests for appointments the hospital hasn’t been able to schedule because it hasn’t received enough vaccine. 

"I am so, so very pleased with the desire for vaccine coming that's coming from our community," said Dr. Melinda Joyce, Vice President of Corporate Support Services for Med Center Health. "It's fabulous we have this many people who want to get vaccinated, and that's what we've always wanted from the very beginning."

Ryan Van Velzer

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced an expansion of federal aid for state hospitals and a request for more vaccine doses from the federal government on Tuesday as he reported 2,250 new cases of COVID-19 in the state.

Nearly 3,200 people have died from the virus in the Commonwealth. Beshear announced 27 new deaths Tuesday and the state’s positivity rate is down slightly to 11.5%. Cases have decreased compared to recent weeks.

More than 83,000 Kentuckians have received the COVID-19 vaccine, but demand has outpaced the number of the state’s allotted vaccine doses.

Lisa Autry

Some Kentucky teachers are rolling up their sleeves for the COVID-19 vaccine, and doing so ahead of schedule.  

The state’s rollout for school employees wasn’t scheduled to begin until late Jaunary or early February, but some communities have enough vaccine to let educators and support staff jump to the front of the line.

While the state is still rolling out the vaccine to health care workers and long-term care residents, some counties have moved on to the state’s next phase, which includes educators and all school staff such custodians, bus drivers, and cafeteria workers. 

School personnel from Warren and Simpson counties are now getting the vaccine by appointment only at a mass distribution clinic operated by The Medical Center in Bowling Green.

Lori Dubree, the school nurse at Lost River Elementary, this week checked in at the Health Sciences Complex on the Medical Center campus where vaccinations are taking place.

Lisa Autry

The Medical Center in Bowling Green is casting a wider net in vaccinating the public against the coronavirus.

The hospital is serving as a mass vaccination site for people living in the south-central Kentucky region.

While most frontline health workers have already been immunized, the Medical Center is moving on with Phase 1B in the state’s vaccination plan.  This group includes first responder, K-12 school personnel, and seniors age 70 and older.

Answering Your Questions About The COVID-19 Vaccines

Dec 18, 2020
Cheryl Gerber

The arrival of the first doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine was met with cheers around the Ohio Valley as the first doses were administered to front-line health workers. The Pfizer —  and, soon, Moderna — vaccines bring the promise of relief after months of pandemic-driven closures and a deadly surge in cases. 

But the vaccines’ arrival also brings a lot of questions. The Ohio Valley ReSource asked you, our listeners and readers, what you need to know about the vaccine, and you responded with dozens of questions. People want to know about how safe and effective the vaccines are, how they work, and who will get vaccinated when. 

We took some of the questions to Dr. Vince Venditto, an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky’s College of Pharmacy. Venditto did his postdoctoral training in vaccine design, which he said makes this moment one that “overlaps nicely with my training, so it's an exciting time of history.” 


Mary Meehan

All Kentucky hospitals involved in the first shipment of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine have now received their doses.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced Wednesday that Mercy Health-Lourdes Hospital in Paducah, the last of the 11 hospitals to receive the vaccine, has accepted its shipment. The other 10 received shipments earlier this week.

Michael Yungmann, president of Mercy Health-Lourdes Hospital, said in a statement, “a corner has been turned.”

“While it has been a long year, today is a day for celebration,” he said. “We’re honored to be delivering the first COVID-19 vaccinations in Western Kentucky and to play a role in this historic moment of going on offense against coronavirus. Thank you to the Governor and his administration for the leadership and coordination that has made this moment possible.”

Med Center Health

Residents and staff at a long-term care center in Allen County are among the first in Kentucky to get vaccinated against COVID-19.  

Cal Turner Rehab and Specialty Care in Scottsville is immunizing about 100 residents and workers this week. The nursing home is owned by Med Center Health whose hospital in Bowling Green was one of 11 in Kentucky to receive the state’s first shipment of the vaccine. 

Eric Hagan, Vice President of Rural Hospitals for Med Center Health, says once residents and staff are vaccinated, the facility will be able to lift restrictions on visitation.

Med Center Health

An emergency room physician who was the first person in Bowling Green to receive the COVID-19 vaccine says he hasn’t experienced any adverse reactions. 

Dr. William Moss at The Medical Center was first among frontline workers to receive the Pfizer vaccine on Monday.  He described the moment as euphoric after a difficult nine months of treating the sickest coronavirus patients.  Twenty-four hours after the injection, Moss said he was having no side effects other than soreness in his arm.

"The aches and pain, a little fever. We’re all going to have a little bit of an immune response and that’s actually a good thing," Moss said in an interview with WKU Public Radio. "That means it’s working.”

Ryan Van Velzer

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear reported 3,114 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday as the state anticipates the arrival of the first doses of vaccine.

That number represents a decline of more than 1,000 compared to the cases reported last Tuesday, indicating that the rate of growth of infections in the state may be slowing.

Besehar announced 20 new deaths and the state’s rate of positive test results also dropped slightly to 9.5 percent.

Over the next two weeks, Beshear said, Kentucky will receive more than 100,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines developed by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna.

Mary Meehan

If flu vaccination rates are any predictor, not nearly enough Kentuckians will get the COVID-19 vaccine to achieve herd immunity. 

Herd immunity happens when a virus can't spread because it keeps encountering people who are protected against the infection. 

According to CDC data, Kentucky’s flu vaccination rates among counties ranged from 19 to 53 percent last year.  The statewide average, historically, is around 40 percent.  Dr. Dale Toney, president of the Kentucky Medical Association, says he hope that’s not a harbinger for COVID-19 immunizations. 

“Sixty to 70 percent is what’s estimated to achieve herd immunity for the COVID infection," said Toney in an interview with WKU Public Radio.