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Extra precautions, steps slowing down distribution of COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Dec. 29, 2020 at 8:41 PM CST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The long-awaited anticipation for the COVID-19 vaccine is over, but the wait for Americans to actually get vaccinated is just beginning.

“What we’re now seeing is it takes a little bit longer to administer than I think the federal government thought when they were coming up with those numbers,” Gov. Andy Beshear said.

The U.S. set a goal to vaccinate 20 million people before the end of the year, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Monday, only about 2.1 million have received the first dose.

In Kentucky, only about a quarter of the doses that have been received have actually been administered.

Melissa Bennett works at Saint Joseph Hospital in Lexington. She said all the paperwork involved is a hurdle.

“We’re required to report it not just through the state but we also need to make sure we have every piece so it can go to the CDC and the HHS and make sure that that’s a comprehensive process,” Bennett said. “You want to make sure that you do it quickly but that you don’t miss the required reporting, because we want to be set up for success when they’re due for their second dose.”

The changing number of doses allocated from each manufacturer is also an obstacle, as well as the extra precautions that need to be taken by hospitals.

“You don’t want to vaccinate everybody at the same time,” Gov. Beshear said. “You’ve got to have people taking care of those on the COVID unit, you can’t have everybody off of it at the same time.”

As Kentucky moves through the phases of distribution, building a network of places to get a shot now is going to impact the pace moving forward.

“I don’t think we’re seeing a problem in the system,” Gov. Beshear said. “We’re just seeing realistically how long it takes when you get in x-thousands of vaccines.”

An additional allocation of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are expected in the state next week, a total of more than 53,000 doses.

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