COVID-19 vaccine

Lisa Autry

It’s campaign season in Kentucky and the rest of the country, but not in the political sense. 

A vaccination campaign is underway against highly contagious coronavirus variants that are particularly a threat to unvaccinated individuals.  As Kentucky marks three consecutive weeks of increasing COVID-19 cases, the key to beating the virus remains winning the undecideds. 

The Bluegrass State confirmed more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest single-day increase the commonwealth has seen since March 11.  On top of that, the Delta variant has become the dominant and most aggressive strain in the state.  Given that it's more fatal than other variants,  Myrna Denny decided it was time to get vaccinated. 

“Relax, deep breath. Relax those shoulders," instructed a healthcare worker at Denny's appointment.

Denny was at a mass vaccination clinic run by the Medical Center in Bowling Green.  She’d been hesitant to get the shot after having an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine several years.

Lisa Autry

Demand for vaccines has decreased in recent weeks and less than 50% of the U.S. population is full vaccinated.

While in Bowling Green Thursday, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell continued to encourage people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

During a Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce meeting, McConnell said the nation hasn’t reached the level of vaccination he’d like to see.

If you're a football fan, we're sort of in the red zone, the last 20 yards before the end zone, but not yet in the end zone on getting people vaccinated," McConnell said. "I hope even though we are all back to normal now, we'll still try to encrouge people to get the vaccination."

International Center of Kentucky

The Warren County based International Center of Kentucky is expecting an influx of refugees in the next few months. 

Resettlement programs have struggled to help refugees enter the U.S. because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and cuts to admissions made by the Trump administration.

Executive Director of the International Center, Albert Mbanfu, said during a community meeting Wednesday that the center has resettled 111 refugees so far during this federal fiscal year, and is expecting more. 

"June has been a very busy month for the international center, and I think it’s a busy month for all resettlement agencies across the country," Mbanfu said.

Mary Meehan

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is closing its two COVID-19 vaccination centers in Kentucky on Thursday, June 10.

In April, FEMA opened military-run vaccination clinics in Henderson and Laurel counties, both rural areas with lower vaccination rates at the time. 

The clinic at the Henderson County Cooperative Extension Agency was capable of giving 250 doses of the vaccine per day, but averaged about 40 injections daily.  Henderson Mayor Steve Austin said the clinic was a bit out of the way and may have posed a transportation challenge for some residents.

“Honestly, the walk-in clinic didn’t draw the number of people we hoped it would," Austin told WKU Public Radio. However, the satellite vans they sent out to different areas did very well.”

Beshear Announces Lottery For Vaccinated Kentuckians

Jun 4, 2021
Commonwealth of Kentucky

Kentucky residents have a chance at winning a million dollars or a full ride scholarship to a state university in a new effort to bolster vaccination rates. 

Governor Andy Beshear announced the “Shot at a Million” lottery for vaccinated Kentuckians on Friday, joining states like Ohio and West Virginia in efforts to bolster vaccination rates with monetary incentives  

“If you’ve already gotten your shot, good for you. You’re eligible. All you have to do is sign up,” Beshear said. “If you haven’t gotten your shot, go get it and get qualified for this amazing opportunity.”

Three vaccinated Kentuckians over the age of 18 will win a million dollars while 15 vaccinated kids ages 12 to 17 will win a full ride scholarship to a state college, university or trade school, including tuition, room-and-board and books.

J. Tyler Franklin

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Tuesday that more coronavirus deaths were found in the commonwealth’s audit of fatalities during the pandemic.

Beshear said an additional 260 people died due to COVID-19 between March and October of 2020 than earlier records indicated. 

“That’s 220 days. So it’s going back in the midst of this pandemic and finding about 1.8 Kentuckians in each of those days that we lost, that hadn’t been included, hadn’t been recognized,” Beshear said. 

Of those deaths, 96 occurred in Jefferson County.

Lisa Autry

Vaccinated or not, the masks come off June 11. Kentucky’s mask mandate will be officially lifted that day, with a few exceptions. As that date nears, the state is making a concerted effort to boost the number of residents protected against COVID-19.

While more than half of Kentucky’s adult population is vaccinated, the state lags in the number of minorities rolling up their sleeves. 

It wasn't Sunday and it wasn't a potluck, but 19-year-old Rachel Rodriguez was recently at the fellowship hall of her church on a weekday afternoon. She was there to get the coronavirus vaccine.

"I want to get it over with. I’m stoked honestly. I heard it doesn’t hurt," she said while laughing.

Corinne Boyer | Ohio Valley ReSource

Black and Hispanic Americans in the Ohio Valley are getting vaccinated against COVID-19 at a lower rate than are white Americans, according to data obtained by Kaiser Health News, which offers a more detailed view of vaccination progress among different groups. 

The data shows that vaccination rates vary across races and ethnicities in the Ohio Valley – with slightly more than a fifth of Black Americans in the Ohio Valley who received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the lowest rate across all groups. 

  

Kentucky COVID Cases Continue To Drop

May 18, 2021
Mika Baumeister via Unsplash

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says COVID-19 cases have declined for three weeks in a row. In his Monday briefing on coronavirus, Beshear said the state is on track to do away with its mask mandate by June 11, but there will be exceptions.

Masks will still be required in health care settings and some businesses may also still require masks.   

“Some businesses in some areas are going to decide to keep masking requirements in place. You ought to respect them,” Beshear said. “That is their choice and if they are trying to provide that extra level of safety, you need to respect that. Carry your mask on you. Use it when you need to.” 

John Boyle

A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel has recommended the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for use in children as young as 12. The decision follows the Food and Drug Administration’s extension of the vaccine’s emergency use authorization for children 12 to 15 years old on May 10. 

The Ohio Valley ReSource asked Vince Venditto, an expert in vaccine design, about the Pfizer study data collected in participants ages 12 to 15. Venditto previously responded to listener questions about the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. 

  

J. Tyler Franklin

The Food and Drug Administration announced Monday that the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19 may be given to children ages 12 to 15. Kentucky is preparing to make the vaccine available for children. 

Shortly before the FDA announced expanded use of the vaccine, Kentucky’s top public health official, Dr. Steven Stack, said studies showed that the vaccine was safe for children. 

“You could have some aches or a little fatigue, but kids bounce back very quickly, and it’s been very well tolerated,” Stack said. “Additionally, they have found that it has been, at least in the initial studies, 100% protective from serious illness.” 

Corinne Boyer

Roughly a million students attend college around the Ohio Valley, and the student-age population has an especially high rate of coronavirus infection. That’s why some public health advocates say schools should require that students be vaccinated. 

However, a review by the Ohio Valley ReSource found that of 400 colleges and universities in Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia, only three have indicated that they will mandate COVID-19 vaccinations this fall.

The age group with the highest share of COVID-19 infections is under 30. About a fifth of all U.S. cases have occurred in people ages 18 to 29. In late April the American College Health Association, an organization that works to improve the health of college students and college campuses, recommended that schools make COVID-19 immunization mandatory for students. 


J. Tyler Franklin

Gov. Andy Beshear said he will relax some of the state’s pandemic-related capacity restrictions in three weeks.

Starting May 28, which marks the beginning of Memorial Day weekend, the state will increase capacity at all indoor and outdoor venues and businesses with under 1,000 people to 75%. The current limit is 60%. The increase will cover retail, hair salons, restaurants, movie theaters, gyms, weddings and memorial services.

Beshear said events with more than 1,000 people in attendance will be able to operate at 60% capacity starting May 28, up from 50%.

“It gives us the time to make sure we get through these last weeks of school, yet also gives notice to those that’ll be hosting folks,” Beshear said.

Centers for Disease Control/Unsplash

When it comes to deciding whether to get the COVID-19 vaccine, a new poll found that Kentuckians overwhelmingly trust information from medical experts close to home. 

The survey done for the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky shows that 95 percent of Bluegrass State residents trust their physician or other health care provider when it comes to vaccine information. 

Ninety-eight percent of those who said they will get the vaccine said they trust their own doctor. 

Corinne Boyer

The numbers of new COVID-19 cases remain relatively low in Kentucky, but as vaccination rates slow Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said he is considering incentives to encourage people to get a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Beshear announced Monday 313 new cases of COVID-19 and 8 new deaths. The state’s positivity rate is 3.45%.

COVID-19 vaccination rates continue to slow. In April, the number of shots getting in arms decreased by several thousand every week. 

As the demand for vaccines declines, Beshear said the number of doses in a vial makes it difficult to offer shots in smaller settings. Typically a vial contains 10 doses and once opened all of those doses have to be used.

Pages