Health

The federal government is set to deliver about 150,000 coronavirus vaccines to Kentucky from mid- to late December, Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday.

Beshear’s announcement means  more vaccines are on a faster track than what Beshear indicated just last week. The first doses will be delivered to residents and staff in long-term care facilities as well as health care workers.

“We believe that there may be as many as five separate shipments between the two vaccines in December alone and that would be really really good news,” Beshear said. 

The state is expected to receive 38,025 doses of the Pfizer vaccine the week of Dec. 13th followed by another 110,500 doses of the Moderna vaccine between Dec. 20th and the end of the year, Beshear said.

A second dose of the vaccine, known as a booster, will be required and is expected to arrive about three weeks after a first dose, he said. 

Kentucky has decided to deliver a majority of the first round of vaccines to long-term care residents and staff because of the high death rate at those facilities — about 66% of all of the state’s fatalities — which is higher than national average, Beshear said.

The remaining doses will go toward vaccinating health care workers at 11 hospitals. Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Steven Stack said the state can’t do any more than that because the vaccine cannot be delivered in shipments smaller than 975 doses.  

Stack called the creation and delivery of the vaccine a modern medical miracle. 

“We are about to have not one but two vaccinations available for people less than 10 months (since) our first coronavirus patient was identified in Kentucky,” Stack said.  

Last week, Kentucky surpassed 200,000 cases and more than 2,000 deaths from COVID-19.

Beshear said the rate of growth in virus transmission appeared to slow last week when compared to the weeks prior. He reported 1,972 cases on Monday, which was fewer  than the daily report on the last two Mondays when cases are ordinarily lower because of delays in lab reporting.

Another 10 Kentuckians lost their lives to the virus, Beshear said.

Based on the trend, Beshear said it’s unlikely that he will extend his executive order closing indoor dining at bars and restaurants. That order is set to end December 14. 

Ryan Van Velzer is WFPL's Energy and Environment Reporter.