On Nov. 17, Gov. Andy Beshear signed an executive order that qualifies every person 18 years old and older and living or working in Kentucky to be eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccination booster.

Every person 18 years old or older is now eligible in Kentucky to get a COVID-19 vaccination booster six months after their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, or two months after a single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine. Before this executive order, based on guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Moderna or Pfizer booster shots have been limited to Kentuckians who are over 65 years old, have significant underlying conditions or are exposed to many people through their work.

Beshear said that Kentucky was seeing a decline in COVID-19 case numbers and the test positivity rate for many weeks, but those numbers have begun to plateau, or even slightly increase, recently.

“We are moving into the amazing holiday season with Thanksgiving, Christmas and other gatherings, which unfortunately are especially risky for COVID-19 being able to spread,” Beshear said. “Because of that, it’s more important than ever that we get people vaccinated and get people their boosters to push their immunity up to the highest levels, because over time that immunity wanes.”

Beshear noted that cases are spiking again across Europe, which increases his concern for the trajectory in Kentucky’s case numbers without increased vaccinations and boosters.

“Folks, you really need to get vaccinated and get this booster, and now it should be fairly easy,” Beshear said. “It’s going to make you much safer over the next several months.”

As of Nov. 17, more than 437,000 Kentuckians had received a booster shot. At least five other states so far have taken similar steps to expand eligibility including Arkansas, California, Colorado, New Mexico and West Virginia.