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Doctor’s offices working to get more access to COVID-19 vaccine

Updated: May. 7, 2021 at 5:55 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky’s vaccination strategy could be changing as the state sees demand for the vaccine shrink. You could see smaller clinics replace large vaccination sites, and more doctor’s offices are working to get access to the vaccine.

Dr. John Richard with Bluegrass Extended Care tells us he applied months ago to get a supply of the COVID vaccine for his patients. So far, he’s still waiting.

“I have several patients a day ask when are we going to get it and they make the comment specifically what they are going to wait for us to be able to do it,” Dr. Richard said.

He says a majority of his unvaccinated patients said they intended to get vaccinated, but they wanted it to come from his office.

“Most of us who do primary care in our community can easily have a list of patients that are good candidates and we can coordinate that,” Dr. Richard said.

A poll released earlier this week by the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky shows a 95% of Kentuckians trust their physician or healthcare provider. Those providers tell us they’ve been dispelling a lot of myths about the COVID vaccine.

“‘Is it going to change my DNA? Is it going to give me COVID? Am I going to have a side effect? Am I going to get a blood clot? I just don’t want it.’ There’s all kinds and it’s different for different people. But when we get them in the office were able to address that at the same time and reassure them,” said Dr. Jeff Foxx with Family Practice Associates.

Supplies have started going to some clinics, including Family Practice Associates here in Lexington. Dr. Foxx says they’ve been encouraging unvaccinated patients to come to their vaccine clinic on the 15th.

“Do talk to somebody you trust. Talk to your family doctor. Address those concerns specifically. Because overall I think it’s a safe thing to do,” Dr. Foxx said.

State leaders have said they understand how important it is to get the vaccine to family doctors.

We have just recently activated within the last week or so probably about 500 medical offices. It’s hard for me to completely tease it out because some of those are clinics, some of those are urgent treatment centers. Some are pediatricians’ offices,” said Dr. Steven Stack, Kentucky’s public health commissioner.

One obstacle is the need to reduce waste of those doses. Once a Moderna vial is pierced, it’s only good for 12 hours.

Dr. Stack said discussions on the federal level have included an increased acceptance of some waste, if it means they can reach more people.

“There’s been no specific metric given by the federal government, just acknowledgment that this is going to be part of the journey and now that there’s an understanding additional waste will have to be accepted in order to reach people in a lot more settings and locations that are lower volume,” Dr. Stack said.

Dr. Stack said if the Pfizer vaccine is approved for 12 and up next week, that could be an additional 400,000 Kentuckains eligible to be vaccinated.

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