Baptist Health Lexington is one of 11 hospitals picked to receive first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Dec. 3, 2020 at 10:17 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Eleven Kentucky hospitals now stand ready and waiting for their first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines.

For Baptist Health Lexington, that’s 975 doses.

“We have a little over 2,800 employees here in Lexington so it will be a fraction of them,” Executive Director of Outcomes Dee Beckman said.

So, not only did they have to figure out a plan for vaccine storage.

“It requires ultra-cold storage, so we did have to purchase a special freezer,” Beckman said. “We do have that on-site, it is down to temperature and functional.”

They’ve also determined a tiered system of which frontline healthcare workers will be at the top of the list.

“We prioritized our employees based off of their risk with the jobs that they have,” Beckman said. “So, for example, the frontline staff working in the COVID units are the top tier employees, and then again the rest of our frontline staff are close behind.”

Beckman said the vaccines are recommended, not required, so the workers’ interest in taking it was factored in too.

The other hospitals in our area chosen to receive part of that first allocation are UK Hospital and Baptist Health Corbin.

As an emergency physician in Lexington, Dr. Ryan Stanton is one of those healthcare workers at high risk for exposure. He’s still recovering from COVID-19 as of Thursday and expecting to be part of that first group able to be vaccinated.

“We’ve seen what it’s doing to our communities and to especially the generations ahead of us, how it’s ravaging our elderly population, the high-risk population,” Dr. Stanton said. “We want this to be over, and we see this as the exit strategy for what we’ve experienced throughout 2020.”

Walgreens and CVS will be handling the distribution of the vaccine to long-term care facilities.

Gov. Andy Beshear said we could be vaccinating Kentuckians as early as Dec. 15.

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