Kentucky Department for Public Health lays out COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan

Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 10:14 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The Kentucky Department for Public Health is announcing an initial draft plan for distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to local health departments and health care organizations.

The KDPH anticipates the first shipment of the vaccine would be delivered to the state sometime between later 2020 to early 2021 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.”

Currently, trials are being done to ensure its safety.

“By the time that it’s available to the public, you are no longer a guinea pig," said WKYT Medical Contributor Dr. Ryan Stanton.

There are 3 stages of testing. Dr. Stanton said the final stage will determine how many times an individual would need to be vaccinated.

“We know with the coronavirus vaccines MERS and SARS, they tend to last two to three years," Dr. Stanton said. “The natural immunity that comes from the lesser versions of Coronavirus are only measured in months."

Once a vaccine is cleared, it won’t immediately be available to everyone.

Dr. Steven Stack, KDPH commissioner says the first phase of the plan will help ensure those most at risk have access to the vaccination. That includes certain health care workers and first responders.

“The plan will accommodate vaccinating these essential workers in every county across the commonwealth,” said Dr. Stack.

Dr. Stanton said we’ll see the biggest impact with the first group of people vaccinated.

“If we can cut out those that are at high risk, then this really does become a relatively mild virus because in many populations, especially the very young, the risk is very low," he said.

Phase two includes food service employees, transportation workers and higher education personnel. The third phase are individuals 60 years and older, high risk children and pregnant women. Everyone else can be vaccinated by phase four.

The publicly available draft plan, filed today with the CDC, is posted to It references several factors including vaccine management and tracking, supply management, community education and engagement, and analytics.

Dr. Stack explains that at first, supplies of the vaccine will be limited, and that is the reason for a phased distribution approach. He says that will change as supplies of the vaccine rise, 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, wear a mask, and practice hand hygiene.

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

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