The Whitley County Health Department has delivered nearly all of the doses of the COVID-19 vaccine it received with the final doses to be distributed on Tuesday. The department is anticipating a shipment of booster doses soon for those who have already received their initial dose.
Initially the health department received 300 doses plus an additional eight from “extra angel doses,” so 308 doses have been administered.
Approximately 1,867 responses to the health departments COVID-19 vaccine registrations survey were submitted as of 2:40 p.m. on Jan. 15, said Marcy Rein, public health director for the Whitley County Health Department.
“Appointments for new people will need to wait until we receive additional vaccine and then we will continue to work through those survey registrations,” said Rein. “We work through anyone in phase 1a first. If we still have vaccine after reaching out to everyone under phase 1a, we move on to phase 1b.”
According to the health department’s frequently asked questions guide, in Kentucky, phase 1c is predicted to take place during the spring and summer. Phase 2 is projected to happen in summer with phase 3 expected to happen in fall and winter.
“We hope things will go faster, but we recognize that much of this is not within our control,” stated the health department in the FAQ guide. The phases of the COVID vaccine distribution according to the government’s Team Kentucky website are:
1a – Long-term care facilities, assisted living facilities and health care personnel.
1b – Anyone age 70 or older, first responders and K-12 school personnel.
1c – Anyone age 60 or older, anyone age 16 or older with CDC highest risk C19 risk conditions, all essential workers.
2 – Anyone age 40 or older.
3 – Anyone age 16 or older.
Essential workers, according to the Whitley County Health Department, include individuals in a variety of fields including daycare/childcare, food and agriculture, manufacturing, postal service, grocery store, transportation, food service, finance, shelter and housing, IT and communications, energy, media, legal, public safety, water and wastewater, non K-12 education, non-hospital-based faith leaders, and crisis community service organizations.
Health conditions that qualify an individual for vaccination in group 1c include cancer (current),
Chronic Kidney Disease, COPD, Down’s Syndrome, pregnancy, Sickle Cell Disease, Type 2 Diabetes, active smokers or vapers, obesity (BMI is 30 or higher), heart conditions, including heart failure, cardiomyopathy, and coronary artery disease, or solid-organ transplant.
Other vulnerable populations fall into phase 1c, including those that live in behavioral health, rehabilitation, substance use treatment facilities or group homes, receive community residential rehabilitation services in their home, identify as LGBTQ+, have an intellectual or developmental disability, have a mental health disorder, have substance use disorder, or are homeless.
The health department’s FAQ guide states that after completing the online COVID-19 vaccine registrations survey, “It may be several weeks or more before you get called for an appointment. We will call those in the highest Phase first when vaccine is available. Due to the volume of responses, we cannot check what Phase you are in or tell you ‘your place in line’.”