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Pfizer vaccine on its way to Kentucky following FDA approval

Published: Dec. 12, 2020 at 9:43 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - With the FDA’s approval of the Pfizer vaccine, Kentuckians could be vaccinated in the coming week.

The end is in sight, but Governor Andy Beshear said he believes Kentuckians could be vaccinated as early as Dec. 15.

He said there’s an end in sight, but it will take more than a pinch of a needle.

“We hope, and it’s an aggressive timetable, that we can vaccinate our long term care community in two months, before March the 1st,” he said.

CVS and Walgreens will help distribute those vaccines.

UK Hospital, Baptist Health Lexington and its Corbin campus are among the 11 hospitals ready to receive the shipment.

“All of our other acute care hospitals that weren’t in the first 11 for the first week of Pfizer are going to have some allocation of this Moderna vaccine in that second week,” Beshear said.

UK already completed a test run to ensure the Pfizer vaccine could be kept at around - 70 degrees Celsius. Surveys indicated around 80 percent of UK healthcare employees wanted the vaccine.

“Our frontline healthcare workers not only deserve to be first, but it protects the healthcare capacity of these individuals not being sick,” Beshear said.

The Pfizer vaccine requires a booster shot, also expected in the coming weeks.

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department isn’t involved in the first phase of vaccine distribution.

“When it gets into phase two with the first responders and education professionals in Lexington, that’s going to be more of our involvement on the direct vaccination,” said spokesperson Kevin Hall.

Beshear said he’s prioritizing getting students back in school, steadily increasing the capacities in school buildings.

“I know everybody is saying ‘When me? When me?’ It’s going to take us knowing the amounts of vaccines we’re going to get and when, it depends on how many more are authorized and how much is manufactured,” he said.

Several churches have been used as COVID-19 testing sites. Experts say it will take continued encouragement from faith leaders to get people vaccinated.

“You’ve got to identify where the hesitancy exists,” said Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky CEO Ben Chandler. “You’ve then got to ascertain who do those folks listen to?”

Leaders are learning more about the vaccine, keeping it in discussion.

“We want to do the best we can to help our communities be healthy,” said Rev. Donte Jackson, a youth and young adult pastor at Consolidated Baptist Church.

Chandler emphasized the importance of buy-in across the Commonwealth.

“We’ve just got to follow the science,” he said. “We’ve got to follow those people who we trust.”

Beshear said when the general public will have access to the vaccine is still a ways away.

“It’s really going to take patience and it’s really going to test us,” he said. “We think it’s going to take spring to summer at the latest for getting significant numbers out.”

Starting with 148,525 doses, for more than 4 million Kentuckians.

The FDA will meet Thursday to discuss emergency use authorization for the Moderna vaccine. Beshear has said the first shipment is expected around Dec. 20, pending approval.

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