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Covid Vaccines slow in reaching County

Voice Staff Report

Photo submitted Leanna Christie, Director of Nursing SHC of McCreary receives her first dose of Covid vaccine administered by Walgreens, Signature HealthCARE pharmaceutical partner.



Photo submitted Sharon Baird CEO and Administrator SHC of McCreary County receives her first dose of Covid vaccine administered by Walgreens, Signature HealthCARE pharmaceutical partner.




“The arrival of the first COVID-19 vaccines is a major development in the coronavirus pandemic. An effective COVID-19 vaccine will help protect people who come in contact with the virus from becoming sick. As more people are vaccinated, families and communities will be able to gradually return to a more normal routine.” Johns Hopkins Medicine

The vaccine roll out in McCreary County is slowly progressing due to a limited supply of vaccine doses allotted to the County and the ten county Lake Cumberland District Health region. McCreary County’s death toll from the Coronavirus has now reached 17, the two latest victims of the virus were long term care residents. For them and the 15 other deaths attributed to the virus, the vaccine did not come soon enough.
Counties with a hospital receive the largest number of doses with most doses going to the hospitals while the counties without a hospital receive a smaller number of doses. Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital receives 500 doses a week and books appointments for all 500 doses within 30 minutes of posting availability. By contrast, McCreary County Health Department has received 100 doses of the vaccine which was used to vaccinate first responders and health care workers and the health department is not sure when the next shipment of 100 doses of vaccine will arrive. The next phase of vaccinations, 1B, is to include people over the age of 70 and school personnel. When the McCreary Health Department receives the next allotment of doses the public will be notified and it is necessary to register for an appointment to receive the vaccine.
The McCreary County School personnel are scheduled to receive the vaccine and begin vaccinations the first week of February. This comes after Adair, Casey and Clinton Counties receive vaccine for school staff this week, Cumberland, Green, Russell and Wayne with part of Pulaski will receive their school staff vaccine the week of January 25th. The amount needed to vaccinate school personnel in the ten county district is expected to use the majority of vaccine doses available during this time period.

Veterans need to contact their VA Clinic for information about receiving the vaccine and make an appointment. The Lexington VA began administering vaccinations last week and more than 4,000 eligible veterans were vaccinated over the last week-end.
The residents and staff of Signature Healthcare in Pine Knot began receiving Covid-19 vaccinations the first week of January. Working with their pharmaceutical partner Walgreens, the Pfizer vaccine was administered. Dr. Arif Nazir, Chief Medical Officer for Signature HealthCARE released a statement that said, “I can’t even imagine where we would be societally and psychologically, had we not received the news of the availability of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The credible research that shows these vaccines are very safe and are almost 95% effective is nothing less than a lifeline for our communities and for the world in general.”
As more people become eligible for the vaccine, sites that administer doses are becoming inundated with people wanting to sign up. Kroger is reported to open regional high volume, drive thru vaccination sites in early February. Baptist Health Hospital now has four sites giving the vaccine and is making it available to people in 1B phase (persons over 70, 1st responders and K-12 school personnel). It is unclear when local pharmacies and private health care providers will be able to start vaccinating people for Covid-19.

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