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DPH announces COVID-19 vaccine distribution draft plan

In News, State by OC Monitor Staff

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Department for Public Health, an agency of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services, today announced an initial, comprehensive draft plan for distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to local health departments and health care organizations.

The first shipment of the vaccine is anticipated for delivery in late 2020 or early 2021 to Kentucky from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Defense.

“The federal government provided a detailed plan for how states should distribute the vaccine, once all safety trials are completed, and the commonwealth’s plan closely mimics their recommendation,” Gov. Andy Beshear said. “Protecting the health and lives of our Kentucky families remains our top priority as we battle COVID-19 and as vaccines arrive.”

“The first phase of the plan will help ensure those most at risk – certain health care workers and first responders – have access to the vaccination,” said Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of KDPH. “The plan will accommodate vaccinating these essential workers in every county across the commonwealth.”

The publicly available draft plan, filed today with the CDC, is posted to kycovid19.ky.gov. It references vaccine management and tracking; supply management; community education and engagement; contact management; analytics and reporting and organizational support.

“Supplies of the vaccine will be limited, at first,” Dr. Stack said. “This is the reason for a phased distribution approach. As supplies of the vaccine rise, all Kentuckians are expected to have access,” he said, adding that distributing the vaccine to as many as 4.4 million residents will likely take a year or more to complete.

“For months, it’s been necessary to remind Kentuckians that there is no cure for COVID-19 and that no vaccine exists. It’s gratifying to have gotten to this point, to be in the position of saying that soon, the vaccine will be available to some, and that it’s on its way to every resident of our commonwealth who wishes to take it,” Dr. Stack noted.

Cabinet Secretary Eric Friedlander said, “The COVID-19 vaccine is imperative to fully reopening Kentucky’s economy and helping with the return to what feels ‘normal:’ Traditional classroom education, full-capacity business operations, social activities, and more. Getting immunized against not only COVID-19, but getting and remaining current with all recommended vaccines, is important. It protects you, and it protects those around you. Vaccines are the best way we have to prevent infectious disease. A successful immunization program depends on the cooperation of every person.”

Kentuckians are asked to continue to practice social distancing of at least six feet; to signal support for a practice that can save lives by wearing a mask and to practice hand hygiene.

Federal officials will review and provide necessary feedback on the commonwealth’s draft plan. The final plan will be posted to kycovid19.ky.gov.

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