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Health Department out of vaccines for now due to high demand, short supply

January 22, 2021 | 12:10 am

Updated January 21, 2021 | 10:17 pm

Graphic by Owensboro Times

The Green River District Health Department has exhausted their current supply of initial doses COVID-19 vaccine, with officials saying they would likely be out for the next couple of weeks. Officials said they still have enough of the vaccine to provide to those due for second doses.

GRDHD Director Clay Horton said that Kentucky hospitals — including Owensboro Health Regional Hospital — and health departments had done well in administering at least 90% of their available vaccines within seven days of receiving them. That efficiency, in part, caused demand to outpace supply locally and statewide. 

“Vaccines are being distributed as quickly as they’re being produced,” Horton said during a virtual meeting hosted by Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Candance Brake. “They are being shipped out weekly. I believe 54,000 doses [are being prepared to ship across the state]. If that supply remains steady, we can expect 2,500 doses in Daviess County.” 

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Still, Horton said it would likely be another couple of weeks before the health department could get their hands on more of the vaccine, adding that it has been a challenge thus far in figuring out exactly when and how many doses would be delivered per shipment. 

Similarly, Owensboro Health officials announced Monday afternoon that appointment scheduling there is on hold until their COVID-19 vaccine allocations are increased by the state.

With vaccines in short supply, Horton guessed that the state’s 1B group would remain the focus for the rest of January, and possibly into February. 

 “Demand will be higher than the average supply for at least the next couple of months,” he said. 

Horton estimated that the vaccine supply chain would operate more steadily and predictably after those in the state’s K-12 education system received their allocated doses. 

Horton said the supply chain would also benefit from a third vaccine being approved, and he estimated that could happen by the end of the month. 

“Having another option in the marketplace will create more supply and take some of that pressure off,” he said. 

Earlier this month, it was announced the planned vaccination phases in Kentucky are:

Phase 1a: Long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities, health care personnel
Phase 1b: First responders, Kentuckians age 70 or older, K-12 school personnel
Phase 1c: Kentuckians age 60 or older, anyone older than 16 with CDC highest-risk conditions for COVID-19, all essential workers
Phase 2: Age 40 and older
Phase 3: Age 16 and older
Phase 4: Children under the age of 16 if the vaccine is approved for this age group (estimated to comprise 18% of Kentucky’s population)

January 22, 2021 | 12:10 am

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