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Number of people in Fayette Co. getting vaccine is declining

Kentucky’s child vaccination rate sits at just 20%, and vaccine clinics in Fayette County are being canceled.
Published: Jan. 24, 2022 at 5:54 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky’s child vaccination rate sits at just 20%, and vaccine clinics in Fayette County are being canceled.

Nicole Merz with Wild Health says they likely had their biggest month of vaccines in December, giving out around 4,000 doses.

“We can give some credit to omicron. We can also give some credit to OSHA,” Merz said.

But that number has dropped down, and the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department has just canceled vaccine clinics due to low participation.

“We would have 10 vaccines for every one test and now that’s completely flip-flopped. We probably have one vaccine for every 10 tests that we do,” Merz said.

But she also noted that we might be reaching a saturation point, that everyone who’s going to get the vaccine, has by now.

Merz said Wild Health is hoping to set up mobile clinics in the Appalachian regions and western Kentucky to bring the vaccine to places where it isn’t readily available. She said child vaccinations also drove their high numbers in December.

“There was a lot of pent-up demand early on, there were a lot of people waiting in line to give their kid the vaccine,” said Dr. Lindsay Ragsdale, the chief medical officer at UK Children’s Hospital.

Ragsdale sees those numbers dropping. She said the drop in vaccination is contrasted by an uptick in child hospitalizations due to omicron, emphasizing that the shot is safe for kids.

“Millions of doses have been given to kids in a safe and effective way,” Dr. Ragsdale said.

Merz said unfortunately, she’s seen people wait until they’ve suffered a personal loss to make up their minds.

“I have had some personal stories of patients that have come in and you know they’ve said they were against it and then they lost someone tragically because of it and they wish that they could tell their story,” Merz said.

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