The first Covid-19 vaccines began working their way through Northern Kentucky today, as St. Elizabeth Edgewood received an allotment of 975 vaccines that would be distributed to front-line healthcare workers.
“St. Elizabeth Healthcare is honored to be among the first health care organizations in the commonwealth to receive the COVID-19 vaccine allocations," said St. Elizabeth CEO Garren Colvin.
"Being able to provide an additional layer of defense to our front-line associates and physicians who, in their line of work, have the most risk of exposure to COVID-19 patients is critical. This is a landmark moment in health care history, and we are grateful to help lead these vital efforts for the greater health of our community.”
Dr. Dora Savani, Infectious Disease Specialist, was the first person to receive this vaccine at St. Elizabeth.
"Dr. Savani’s tireless dedication and leadership to caring for our patients with COVID-19 has been inspiring to all of us at St. Elizabeth," a spokesperson for St. Elizabeth wrote. "This is a landmark moment in healthcare history, and we are grateful to help lead these vital efforts for the greater health of our community."
The first round of vaccines for St. Elizabeth Healthcare workers will be administered to workers at hospitals in Fort Thomas and Florence, along with Edgewood.
The initial shipment of the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Kentucky earlier this week and were delivered to Louisville’s UPS Worldport. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was the first to win approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
“The Pfizer vaccine, which we believe to be 95% effective, has now been authorized in this emergency for us to start vaccinating individuals,” said Gov. Beshear. "Kentucky is going to play a major role in getting this vaccine to people all over the eastern United States through UPS’ Worldport."
The Governor said those most at risk will get the vaccine first.
An additional 25,350 vaccines are being delivered to CVS and Walgreens, destined for long-term care facilities in our commonwealth.
Approval is also expected any day for the highly effective Moderna vaccine. This month alone, Kentucky could receive 150,000 doses of vaccine, which the Governor celebrated as great news after a long and tough year.
In the initial rounds, local hospitals, as well as long-term care facilities, which have not yet been announced, will be following guidance issued by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), which advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ACIP is prioritizing vaccinations among health care staff members who have been our only line of defense treating patients and long-term care residents and staff who have been at high risk and greatly affected by the spread of the virus.
The immediate goal is reducing COVID-19 deaths. With 66% of the deaths coming from long-term care facilities, vaccines could help significantly decrease Kentucky’s COVID-19 death toll beginning in January. Also, because long-term care residents tend to require the most care, vaccinations in these facilities will help reduce COVID-19’s burden on Kentucky’s health care system.
Local health departments have also been working closely with the Governor and Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, to prepare for these distributions.
Gov. Beshear said to get back to the Kentucky that we have missed, we need Kentuckians to be vaccinated.
“Our community doctors and nurses, as well as long-term care residents and staff, are preparing to do their part first,” the Governor said. “We will all get a turn. When it is your turn, I strongly encourage you to get vaccinated so you can do your part to protect yourself, your family and our entire state.”
The phases in which more Kentuckians will get vaccines, and the timing, is still unfolding. But, Kentuckians can get the facts about the vaccines and latest distribution information at kycovid19.ky.gov.