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Gooch tells Rotary vaccinations will be long process

While doses of the COVID-19 vaccine is being distributed throughout Kentucky, it could take most of the year to get everyone vaccinated.

Jessamine County Health Department Director Randy Gooch the available doses are presently targeted for those who work or are residents in long-term care or assisted living facilities and those who work in clinical settings.

Seventy percent of Kentucky’s COVID cases were connected to long-term care facilities, he said. As of Monday, there have been 48 COVID-related deaths in Jessamine County, 39 of which are from long-term care facilities, and 14 people currently in the hospital. There were 215 active cases out of 2,685 total cases, he said. (Note: An earlier version of this story said 70 percent of Jessamine County’s cases were related to COVID.)

“This is going to be a long, drawn out process,” Gooch told the Nicholasville Rotary Club Monday. “I think we’ll see it will take a while into 2021 to get everyone vaccinated.”

Gooch said Jessamine County has received 400 doses of the Moderna vaccine, enough to vaccinate 200 people as two shots are required to be effective.

“We’ve received enough vaccinate through the middle of next week,” Gooch said.

While both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines must be stored in ultra-cold conditions, the Moderna vaccine can be used for 30 days once it is thawed, he said. The Pfizer vaccine must be used within five days. That difference has caused some storage issues at hospitals, he said.

At this point, the vaccine is not available to the general public, he said. The next phase of vaccines will be for first responders, K-12 school personnel and those older than 70.

Gooch said that second wave could start within a couple weeks, and could vary by county.

With the amount of vaccine to be obtained nationwide, there would be enough to vaccinate 50 million people by March 1. Nationally, there are 250 million people age 18 and older, he said.

“When we look at Phase 1A and 1B, we have about 75 million people…” he said. “That’s assuming we get a 100% uptake rate.”

Once the vaccine is available to the general public, Gooch said the distribution process won’t be quite as streamlined as the testing program is now. The vaccine requires a 15 minute observation period after it is administered, he said. Some of the logistics have yet to be worked out, including having enough parking space for those waiting and making sure people don’t leave immediately after receiving the vaccine, he said.

“I think we’ll find ways to define that,” Gooch said.

The vaccine, he said, will be critical in ending the threat of the virus. There is not much herd immunity at this point, he said, and there have been a couple people in Jessamine County to get COVID-19 twice.

“That’s the reason the vaccine is so important, whether you’ve had COVID or not,” he said.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun, the Jessamine Journal and the State Journal. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@bluegrassnewsmedia.com or call 859-759-0051.

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