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New vaccine, increased eligibility: Is the end in sight?

Published: Feb. 28, 2021 at 11:27 AM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - As we’re nearing the one-year mark of COVID-19 in Kentucky, many healthcare workers are sharing messages of hope.

They say the vaccine will bring the end of the pandemic as we know it. With more vaccine sites, the approval of a third injection, and another group of people eligible for a shot on Monday, experts say that end is closer than ever before.

The route back to life as we know it seems to be dependent on this... “Nearly a third of a billion Americans have access to this vaccine as soon as possible,” says Lexington emergency physician Dr. Ryan Stanton.

Now, Dr. Stanton says that reality is closer than ever before.

“Spring is right around the corner for us and I think we’re looking for the opportunity that the end of COVID, or at least the end of significant COVID, is on the horizon as well,” Dr. Stanton says.

In Kentucky 1.3 million people, 80,000 of them in Fayette County, are about to be eligible to sign up for the vaccine Monday. They’re in phase 1C, which includes people 60 and older, 16 and older with high-risk health conditions, and more people considered essential workers.

“It’s definitely one of the larger phases, getting out to a larger, broader part of the population,” Dr. Stanton says.

That’s not all. The third vaccine in the US, a one-dose shot by Johnson & Johnson, has just received approval. The company’s goal is to provide 4 million doses to sites nationwide this week, and 100 million doses by midsummer.

Here in Kentucky, Dr. Stanton says we’re seeing more COVID-19 vaccine sites than ever before.

He tells us, as we’ve probably heard before, the vaccine is safe, effective, and our way out.

“Healthcare science has never been good at treating viruses once they occur but our technology, especially the vaccines, have been very good at preventing viruses,” Dr. Stanton says.

Dr. Stanton says the next course of action is testing the vaccine on pediatric populations. He says there are currently trials underway for pregnant women.

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