There is growing frustration and confusion about the COVID-19 vaccine availability. There is a misconception that Lake Cumberland providers have vaccine they are not giving. There is a misconception we are not willing to put in the time needed to give the vaccines. Below we will clarify the present situation and, taking all things into account, beg for your patience and understanding.
Phase 1a (Our Present Situation)
Phase 1a includes long-term care residents and staff, and medical staff.
Not including the vaccine that is flowing through the federal contract with Walgreens and CVC for the long-term care residents and staff, as of today, as far as we know, most of the COVID-19 vaccine that has been allocated to our district has either already been administered or will be gone by the end of the week having been utilized for Phase 1a recipients, and Phase 1b, first responders. In a few instances, some surplus vaccine has been used for other populations, but on a very limited basis.
For now, the local health departments have not been authorized to order any Phase 1b vaccine. Across the state, efforts are being made at the state-level to move any available vaccine to areas where there are still Phase 1a demand.
The total COVID-19 vaccines received by your local health departments so far (again, these have already either been given, or will be given by the end of the week for Phase 1a recipients only), is as follows:
- Adair: 300
- Casey: 100
- Clinton 100
- Cumberland = 100
- Green = 100
- McCreary = 100
- Pulaski = 800
- Russell = 300
- Taylor = 100
- Wayne = 100
Should some small amount of any of this vaccine remain after we have met Phase 1a demand, we will open that up to the seventy and older population.
Keep in mind that area hospitals also received vaccine for their staff and to help vaccinate the medical community and first responders. Like us, we believe the hospitals have exhausted most of their inventory.
Phase 1b Status
Phase 1b includes first responders (fire, police, etc.), school personnel, and those 70 and older.
The local health departments and hospitals have utilized surplus Phase 1a vaccine to target this population. Therefore, first responders have largely been taken care of.
We have identified providers to administer the school vaccine in every county. Generally speaking, this will be the provider who already holds the school nurse contract with each school board. We have already provided to the state the lists of every school staff member (public, private, and Christian schools) who want the vaccine. For now, we are waiting on the vaccine to be delivered and have been told to expect it for this population in late January or early February.
Those 70 and Older
The local health departments and other area providers who have been approved to administer the COVID-19 vaccine stand ready to begin this phase. The problem is, the vaccine simply is not yet available.
Let’s break this down. According to census data, there are about 4.67 million people in Kentucky. At 209,369, Lake Cumberland accounts for 4.69% of the state’s total population. The state is presently receiving about 50,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine per week. Combining what doses all providers in Lake Cumberland together might receive, Lake Cumberland’s portion of the weekly state allocation based on its proportion of the state’s population size would be about 2,343 doses per week.
The percent of Kentucky’s population that is 65 plus (the census data breaks at 65 plus, not 70, but this will give us a pretty good idea of what we are up against), is 16.8%. Applied to Lake Cumberland’s population, this would be about 35,174 people needing the vaccine. Now assume that 60% of that population will be willing to take the vaccine. This equals about 21,104 people. Remember, this is a two-dose vaccine, so we need double the amount or about 42,208 doses to vaccinate our elderly population.
Remember, the amount of vaccine Lake Cumberland might receive weekly is only 2,343 doses. Again, 42,208 doses needed, and 2,343 doses potentially received weekly. Let that sink in. At that pace it will take us about 4 months to vaccinate the 70 and over population once we are authorized to order this vaccine.
The bottom-line is, we need a lot of patience. The few drug companies who are manufacturing this vaccine are trying to produce enough for the entire planet. Hopefully, production can speed up, but none of us should expect the vaccination efforts to be over soon.
Phase 1c Status and Beyond
Taking the above into account, vaccination efforts for these groups will be several months away.