Gov. Andy Beshear on Wednesday signed an executive order that qualifies every person 18+ years old and living or working in the commonwealth to get a COVID-19 vaccination booster six months after their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, or two months after a single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine.
Green River District Health Department Director Clay Horton said under current federal guidance, COVID-19 vaccine boosters were already available to many people.
“However, I think that some of the guidelines on who was and wasn’t eligible was difficult to communicate,” he said. “The executive order makes that less challenging. If it had been at least 6 months since your second Pfizer or Moderna COVID vaccine and you are at least 18 years old, you are now eligible for a booster in Kentucky. We would encourage those that are eligible to get a booster to do so now, and we especially want to encourage those that have not yet been vaccinated not to wait any longer.”
BC Childress, Owensboro Health Director of Outpatient Pharmacy Services said they appreciate the governor’s push to make the COVID-19 vaccine boosters more accessible.
The governor said Kentucky was seeing declines in COVID-19 case numbers and the test positivity rate for many weeks, but recently those numbers have begun to plateau or even slightly increase. Daviess County has experienced the same trends.
“We know that immunity begins to wane after a period of time, and boosters are the best way to prolong immunity to COVID,” Childress said. “As cases in Kentucky and across our region start to plateau, these boosters offer us the ability to avoid another surge in cases and safely gather with loved ones throughout the coming holiday season.”
Beshear said, “We are moving into the amazing holiday season with Thanksgiving, Christmas and other gatherings, which unfortunately are especially risky for COVID-19 being able to spread. Because of that, it’s more important than ever that we get people vaccinated and get people their boosters to push their immunity up to the highest levels, because over time that immunity wanes.”
At least five other states so far have taken similar steps to expand eligibility, including Arkansas, California, Colorado, New Mexico and West Virginia. According to reports, the FDA could authorize booster doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for all adults as early as this week.
As of Wednesday, more than 437,000 Kentuckians had received a booster.