Local health officials shared details on their ongoing COVID-19 vaccinations, and state health officials released more details on the phases of its vaccination plan.

Pike County Public Health Director Tammy Riley said that the Pike County Health Department has received 500 Moderna vaccines so far, with part of that shipment arriving this week, and they are all scheduled to be utilized by the end of next week. She added that she is confident the PCHD will reach its goal of administering 90 percent of its received vaccine doses within seven days. The state recently set a goal of administering 90 percent of all vaccine doses received in the state within seven days of arrival.

“The health department is very confident that we will be able to achieve our 90 percent in seven days, not just at the health department but county-wide,” Riley said.

She said that the county has received about 4,000 vaccinations so far, including the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, and the county will achieve a 7 percent reach of the population once they are all administered. The goal is to reach 70 percent.

“If 100 percent of those vaccines were shots in arms, that would achieve a 7 percent reach into our community, approximately 7 percent reach of the population,” Riley said. “We want to get up to 70 percent. When you look at herd or natural immunity, those who have natural immunity through disease or vaccine immunity through immunization, you want to get to 70 percent.”

This week, state health officials also released more details on the phases of its vaccination plan. The vaccination phases consist of Phase 1a, Phase 1b, Phase 1c, Phase 2, Phase 3 and Phase 4. Kentucky is currently in Phase 1a, and it is likely to start Phase 1b as early as Feb. 1, 2021.

The vaccination phases dictate which specific populations of the public will receive the COVID-19 vaccination at a time. They are determined by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Kentucky Department for Public Health drafted the state’s vaccination plan based on ACIP’s guidelines and recommendations.

Phase 1a includes hospital personnel, long-term care facilities and emergency and non-emergency healthcare workers, which includes orthodontists, dentists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, internal medicine doctors, family planning doctors and community health clinics, etc.

Phase 1b includes first responders, Kentuckians who are 70 years old or older and K-12 school personnel.

Phase 1c includes Kentuckians who are 60 years old or older, anyone older than 16 years-old with highest-risk conditions for COVID-19 (as classified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and all essential workers.

Phase 2 includes Kentuckians who are 40 years old or older. Phase 3 includes Kentuckians 16 years old or older. Phase 4 includes children under the age of 16 years old if the vaccine is approved for this age group.

Dr. Steven Stack, Kentucky Department for Public Health Commissioner, said that the state is committed to getting vaccinations done quickly and effectively.

“We are committed to getting this done quickly, efficiently and in the best way we know how and are able to deliver. We’re committed to ramping up the pace dramatically,” Dr. Stack said. “We’re asking every vaccination site to use the prioritization guidance and stick with that, but the top level goal is for every vaccine administration site in the state to administer 90 percent or more of the vaccine doses they receive within one week, so we don’t have vaccine doses waiting in a freezer until the next week.”

In Kentucky, as of Jan. 4, 60,414 vaccine doses were already administered, and 57,000 doses (27,300 from Pfizer and 29,700 from Moderna) were set to be delivered this week.

“We’ve got to get these things out faster,” Gov. Andy Beshear said. “I’m not OK with the pace that they are currently being provided. We have too many people out there who are rightfully anxious, and they need to see this whole country pick up the pace. We are certainly going to do it here in Kentucky.”

For more information on the state’s vaccination plan, visit the state’s COVID-19 informational website, kycovid19.ky.gov.

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