The Kentucky Department of Public Health announced Friday a first draft plan for distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to local health departments and organizations.
State health officials say the first shipment of the vaccine is anticipated for delivery in late 2020 or early 2021 to the state from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Defense.
Governor Andy Beshear said 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.
Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Health, Dr. Steven Stack, says the first phase will help those most at risk, such as health care workers and first responders.
The draft plan was filed with the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Stack said at first supplies of the vaccine will be limited making a phased distribution approach necessary but as supplies of the vaccine rise, all Kentuckians are expected to have access.
In Phase 1, frontline inpatient and hospital-based health care workers, long term care and assisted living facilities workers, frontline outpatient health care providers and correctional facilities residents and workers will receive the vaccine.
In Phase 2, retail food, grocers and food service workers, higher education personnel, critical government personnel and transportation delivery drivers and warehouse workers will receive the vaccine.
In Phase 3, those who are at least 60 years old or have co-morbid conditions, high-risk children, non-elderly adults, pregnant women, workers in industries and occupations at an increased risk of exposure, not included in previous phases will receive the vaccine.
Then in Phase 4, the general population will receive vaccine.
Eric Friedlander, cabinet secretary, says getting vaccinated with not only COVID-19, but all other vaccinations is vital since vaccines are the best way available to prevent infectious disease.
Friedlander said a successful immunization program depends on the cooperation of every person.
Health officials say Kentuckians should still socially distance at least six feet apart, wear a mask, and practice good hand hygiene.