COVID-19: Next Phase of Vaccine Begins March 1 for Ages 60+, All Essential Workers
Kentuckians aged 60 and older as well as all essential workers in most fields will be eligible to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine starting March 1, Governor Andy Beshear announced Monday.
Phase 1c of the state's vaccine plan rolls out that day at regional vaccination sites like the one at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, while other vaccination sites are expected to follow soon after.
More than 583,000 state residents have received at least one dose of a vaccine. The two vaccines available in the U.S. right now require two doses for their maximum efficacy.
Gov. Beshear encouraged all vaccine sites to continue prioritizing phases 1a and 1 b even as 1c appointments are made as well.
“The good news is, we have wildly expanded our vaccine provider network in a very short time frame,” said Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health. “As of today, we have 47 independent pharmacies and 77 Walgreens pharmacies across the state participating in this program to help get vaccines to Kentuckians right in their local communities. We are going to continue to move progressively faster, getting closer and closer to where you live.”
Meanwhile, the state recorded the lowest daily positive coronavirus case count since October 5, with 530 statewide.
“The trends are going in a positive direction, perhaps the most positive since the pandemic began,” said Beshear. “What that means is that we’re doing a good job. Do I think that vaccines are starting to have an impact? Certainly in the long-term care community. Hopefully we’ll see more of it in the overall state. But we’re seeing more people wearing masks, engaging in social distancing, thinking about the number of contacts they have in their day, and it is working.”
Locally, there were a total of just 67 new cases across five Northern Kentucky counties on Monday with 21 in Campbell Co., 20 in Kenton Co., 19 in Boone Co., and 7 in Grant Co. Pendleton Co. reported zero new cases.
The state's positivity rate is 6.6%.
There are currently 870 people hospitalized statewide, including 243 in intensive care units and 119 on ventilators.
While the trends are improving across the country, the U.S. surpassed 500,000 dead from COVID-19.
“This country has now lost more than 500,000 Americans to the coronavirus. It is an almost unimaginable loss. While we have good news about the direction things are going, we’re going to emerge from this with a lot of scars inside and out,” said Beshear. “Let’s all remember that we’ve got to love one another and be patient with one another through that. While I hope that we are months away from the end of this virus, it’s going to take a little longer to process our collective grief.”