Sheldon's Express Pharmacy

One of the biggest challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic is getting vaccinations to people who are homebound.

A Bowling Green-based pharmacy is one of the health care providers that’s taken some of those life-saving “shots of hope” to the elderly and disabled who can’t get to vaccination clinics. 

As soon as Sheldon’s Express Pharmacy got the COVID-19 vaccine, the decision was made to offer vaccinations to homebound patients who were already getting medications delivered. 

Pharmacist Jack Downing said the owner of the pharmacy decided it was important to reach patients who are unable to get to a vaccination site

“This is just mainly a service to the community and to our patients,” Downing said. “That was the first thing that Steve Sheldon said, was we need to take care of the ones that we need to take care of, that are truly homebound, and offer it to them if they want it, and we’ll go to the house and do it.”

Updated April 14, 2021 at 4:26 PM ET

The Biden administration is moving to reverse a Trump-era family planning policy that critics describe as a domestic "gag rule" for reproductive healthcare providers.

Lisa Autry

A health expert from The Medical Center in Bowling Green says the suspension of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine won’t be crippling to Kentucky’s vaccination efforts. 

Kentucky has received few shipments of the one-doses vaccine, but the commonwealth is joining all other states and temporarily suspending use of the vaccine to investigate potentially dangerous blood clots. 

Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been distributed mostly to Kentucky’s independent pharmacies and the correctional system.  Dr. Melinda Joyce, VP for Corporate Support Services for Med Center Health, says the mass vaccination clinic run by the Medical Center has received none of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and doesn’t plan to in the future.

"What I am concerned about though is whether this will increase the vaccine hesitancy we’ve seen," Dr. Joyce told WKU Public Radio.

John Boyle

For eight months, Hoosiers had to wear masks in public.

That changed last Tuesday when Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb allowed his statewide mask mandate to expire. But several Southern Indiana restaurant owners plan to continue their own in-house mask requirements.

“I think we’ve got a little bit more time before that’s something I’m comfortable with with my staff, especially being in a restaurant where people have to take their masks off to dine and it’s boisterous,” said Dallas McGarity, owner of the Portage House in Jeffersonville.

Restaurant owners are allowed to implement such restrictions under Holcomb’s executive order, and McGarity isn’t the only one doing so. But it’s still a decision he expects to garner some criticism from local residents.

Updated April 13, 2021 at 2:11 PM ET

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday they are recommending a "pause" in the use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine out of an "abundance of caution" while a review of reports of rare, potentially dangerous blood clots is conducted.

Corinne Boyer | Ohio Valley ReSource

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced that the state’s positivity rate is the highest it’s been in approximately a month — 3.16%.

“We’ve got to be watching that. We should be wary,” Beshear said. “We should see what’s going on in other states. We should get everyone out to get vaccinated.”

Beshear said the state is likely seeing a plateau in new cases and hospitalizations. In the past, he said, the state has typically seen an increase in cases following a plateau. This time, however, Beshear hopes the COVID vaccine will make a difference.

On Monday, Beshear announced the state will lift most COVID restrictions on venues with capacities of less than 1,000 once 2.5 million Kentuckians are vaccinated. Already more than 1.5 million Kentuckians have received at least one shot of a COVID vaccine.

More than 1.5 million Kentuckians have so far received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but when it comes to fully vaccinated individuals, rates vary greatly among the state's 120 counties, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of Apr. 8, Kentucky had fully vaccinated 20.6% of its total population, slightly higher than the national rate of 19.9%.  Only eight Kentucky counties had fully vaccinated at least a quarter of their total populations. 

People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and two weeks after receiving the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

CDC figures released on Thursday show Woodford County has the highest rate of fully vaccinated residents in Kentucky at 31.3%, followed by Fayette and Pike counties at 28.7% and 28.5%, respectively.  Rounding out the top ten most vaccinated counties are Franklin, Perry, Letcher, Floyd, Hancock, Nicholas, and Lyon.

Vaccine "passports" are making headlines and eliciting emergency measures by governors in a handful of states.

So what are these credentials, exactly, and what are they used for?

What is a vaccine passport?

It's a credential that can be used to show that a person has been vaccinated. The same technology can be used to show a person's coronavirus test results. It's a way to demonstrate a person's health status, generally through a smartphone app or a QR code that has been printed.

Poole's Pharmacy Care

It’s a match made in healthcare heaven, brought together by the spirits of Kentucky. That’s "spirits", as in bourbon. 

The Bard Distillery in Muhlenberg County is lending an ultra-cold freezer to Poole’s Pharmacy Care so it can offer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. The pharmacy has locations in Central City, Greenville, Lewisport, Livermore and Owensboro.

WKU Public Radio Reporter Rhonda Miller talked with owner Ron Poole, one of the pharmacy’s 11 certified vaccinators.

Joyce Ann Kraner is eager for the pandemic to end and for life to get back to normal. Kraner, 49, wants to be able to hug her mother, who lives in a nursing home.

But she says she has no plans to get the vaccine, even though it's widely available in her community of Murfreesboro, Tenn. "I feel like I'm healthy," she says.

Lisa Autry

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.

Updated April 6, 2021 at 5:56 PM ET

President Biden announced Tuesday that he is moving up the deadline for states to open up COVID-19 vaccinations to all U.S. residents 18 and older by about two weeks. Less than a month after directing states to expand eligibility to all adults by May 1, Biden changed that deadline to April 19.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

New cases of COVID-19 in Kentucky have plateaued following 12 weeks of declining cases, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday. 

Infections are on the rise around the country, particularly in parts of the midwest including Michigan and South Dakota, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The seven-day average of new cases in Kentucky also increased slightly last week while test positivity rates, a leading indicator of where infection rates are headed, have remained fairly steady over the last three weeks, Beshear said. 

At the same time, Kentucky is continuing to see a growing number of infections related to a more transmissible variant of the virus known as B.1.1.7, which health experts say is likely to become the dominant version of COVID-19 in the U.S.

After more than two months of steep declines, coronavirus infections are on the rise again nationally — along with COVID-19 hospitalizations in many states.

In the past seven days, the U.S. reported slightly more than 65,000 new cases per day on average, a jump of 20% from two weeks earlier. Many states have seen even more dramatic growth, as high as 125% in Michigan, according to an NPR analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

A research facility in rural Kentucky is encouraged over new results of a study on the Pfizer vaccine in children. 

The pharmaceutical giant has announced its COVID-19 vaccine is 100 percent effective against the virus in children between the ages of 12 and 15. 

Kentucky Pediatric\Adult Research in Bardstown was the only clinic in the state to test Pfizer's vaccine on adolescents and itenrolled 66 participants.  Research Director Marty Osbourn says the efficacy rate is remarkable.

“It’s in a small selection of patients. We’ll see over time how accurate that is. I truly believe it’s accurate based on the results we have so far," Osbourn told WKU Public Radio. "It’s pretty amazing 100 percent of the patients who received the vaccine did not get symptomatic COVID.”