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Local government, healthcare officials discuss plan for vaccinating general population

December 31, 2020 | 12:07 am

Updated December 31, 2020 | 1:17 pm

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Local government and healthcare officials announced Wednesday that a tiered plan for COVID-19 vaccine distribution to the general public was in the works. Through Owensboro Health alone, there will be 19 pre-selected locations where the shots will be administered.

Francis DuFrayne, chief medical officer at Owensboro Health, said hospital staff will be working with the Green River District Health Department to formulate a plan for vaccinating the general public. 

The general population consists of individuals who are not frontline healthcare workers, residents and staff in long-term care facilities, first responders, K-12 school personnel and/or persons over 70 years of age — all of whom fall into Phases 1a and 1b in the state’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout. 

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During Wednesday’s COVID-19 update hosted by Judge-Executive Al Mattingly via Facebook Live, DuFrayne said all of Owensboro Health’s doses so far are reserved for healthcare workers. 

Once the general population can receive their vaccinations, there should be plenty of places to receive a shot.

OH alone will offer 19 pre-selected locations through 14 regional counties, though other healthcare groups and locations will be involved.

DuFrayne did not list all the sites, but did say Owensboro Health locations in Daviess, Muhlenberg and Henderson counties would be included, along with a number of urgent care facilities that would be spread out across the region. 

“As soon as the state starts its second tier, we’re ready to go,” DuFrayne said. “We’re taking our lead from the state.” 

DuFrayne outlined part of a plan that is still being developed by OH and GRDHD Director Clay Horton. According to DuFrayne — and in accordance with the state’s guidelines — the first vaccines for the general public will go toward those who are 65 and older with existing health issues, which were not specified. After that, the next round will go to those who are 65+ and healthy, followed by those with existing health issues in their 40s and 50s. 

Mattingly also said he’d been in talks with Horton about implementing a mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinic for the local area. 

“We are still looking at the possibility of mobile clinics to address vulnerable populations when the appropriate time comes,” Horton confirmed. “But … the current available vaccines are somewhat fragile and require very specific handling and storage requirements. That presents some challenges to moving vaccines around, but it is something we are looking at.” 

Mattingly estimated that it would take at least six months to vaccinate all Daviess County residents who might want one. He said he hoped Horton could offer more details about the official plan for vaccinating the general population sometime next week. 

“It will take a while to get everything ramped up,” he said. “But once it does, it’ll move fairly quickly.”  

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December 31, 2020 | 12:07 am

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