Friday, April 23, 2021

Vaccinations in Ky. keep slowing; FEMA to open sites in London, Henderson next week; one-dose vaccine likely to return soon

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine carries the Janssen
brand name. (New York Times photo by Bryan Anselm)
By Al Cross
Kentucky Health News

Kentucky continued to make slow progress against the coronavirus Friday, as most measures of the pandemic declined slightly and the number of Kentuckians who have received at least one dose of vaccine passed 1.7 million.

But only 11,088 vaccinations were added to the total, less than last week's daily average of 12,138, which includes weekends. The state announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency will open vaccination sites in Henderson and London that can each vaccinate 1,000 people per day.

“It is getting easier and easier for Kentuckians to get their shot of hope,” Gov. Andy Beshear said in a press release. “With this extra help from the federal government, the opportunities are even greater. Now is the time for us all to step up to end this battle with the coronavirus once and for all. Talk to people you trust to get the information you need about the vaccines, find a location near you and get vaccinated. We can do this, Kentucky.”

Vaccination sites are listed at

In another release, Beshear announced that 1,708,318 Kentuckians had received at least their first dose of a vaccine. “Now, fewer than 800,000 Kentuckians 16 and older need to sign up to receive their shot of hope in order for us to reach our goal and lift a lot more restrictions.” Beshear has said that when 2.5 million people have been vaccinated, he will remove capacity limits on businesses and events of fewer than 1,000 people.

The New York Times data tracker says 29 percent of Kentuckians are fully vaccinated, a rank that is 19th among the states. In the South, it is tops in full vaccination and second only to Virginia in one-dose vaccination, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Demand for vaccines was already exceeding supply before April 13, when use of the more recently released one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine was suspended after a rare type of blood clot was found in six women out of more than 7 million people who had received it. All were of child-bearing age.

Friday, a CDC advisory committee voted 10-4 to recommended that use of the vaccine be resumed, with a warning label for women under 50. The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration are likely to approve the recommendation, as early as this weekend.

Resuming use of the one-dose vaccine appears likely to boost vaccination efforts. Beshear and health officials have said many people want to get their immunity with one dose of vaccine.

The suspension has complicated outreach to "the homebound, the homeless, the hesitant and those who have trouble accessing vaccines," The Washington Post reports. "It is also forcing some health care providers to switch to the more cumbersome Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech products, which require two doses, are harder to transport and need to be stored at ultracold temperatures."

Meanwhile, "Senior health officials frustrated by Johnson & Johnson’s repeated vaccine stumbles are no longer counting on the company to play a major role in the broader effort to inoculate the nation against coronavirus, Politico reports. "The flagging confidence comes in the wake of a series of setbacks that included a mix-up at one of J&J’s vaccine manufacturing contractors that ruined 15 million doses and revealed serious safety and hygiene lapses."

The state did not say which vaccine(s) will be offered at the Community Vaccination Centers that will open Wednesday at 200 County Extension Rd. in London and Thursday at 3341 Zion Rd. in Henderson. 

The sites will have their own vaccine supply in addition to the regular allocations the state gets. "These additional vaccine doses are made possible through an increase in production and availability," Beshear's release said. "FEMA and the commonwealth will continue reaching out to underserved communities in Kentucky to inform and build trust about the benefits of getting vaccinated."
The sites will vaccinate both registered and walk-up visitors. After getting their jab, the vaccinated will go to a post-vaccine waiting area for at least 15 minutes to be monitored for any adverse reactions.

Daily numbers: The state reported 607 new coronavirus cases, lowering the seven-day rolling average by 16, to 533. In the last eight months, only two days, April 8 and April 10, have had lower seven-day averages.

The seven-day statewide average of new cases declined for the sixth day in a row, to 10.57 per 100,000. The New York Times ranks Kentucky's rate 35th among the states.

Counties with rates more than double the statewide rate are Lewis, 48.4; Powell, 42.8; Bath, 42.3; Morgan, 37.6; Mason, 33.5; Robertson, 27.1; Wolfe, 25.9; Montgomery, 25.9; Bracken, 25.8; Simpson, 23.1; Hancock, 22.9; and Logan, 22.7.

The percentage of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus declined for the fifth day in a row, to 3.26%, about where it was 10 days earlier.

The state added 22 fatalities to its list of Covid-19 deaths, five from regular health-department reports and 17 from the ongoing audit of death certificates.

The regularly reported deaths were all in April of March, except a 77-year-old Johnson County man who died Nov. 14. The others were a Fayette County woman, 106; a Gallatin County woman, 74; a Jefferson County man, 81; and a Simpson County woman, 102.

The audit deaths, all from Nov. 15 to Jan. 19, were a Bell County man, 72; a Breckinridge County woman, 58; a Bullitt County man, 79; a Calloway County man, 80; a Garrard County man, 79; two Hardin County women, 69 and 70; two Jefferson County women, 87 and 90; two Jefferson County man, 73 and 88; a Jessamine County man, 77; a Kenton County woman, 80; an Owsley County woman, 80; an Owsley County man, 78; a Spencer County woman, 81; and a Warren County woman, 77.

In other pandemic news Friday:
  • Counties with more than 10 new cases were Jefferson, 110; Fayette, 54; Kenton, 28; Warren, 21; Boone, 19; Laurel, 13; Bath, Christian, Henderson, Mason and Pike, 12; Daviess, Lewis, Montgomery and Powell, 11; and Barren, Hardin and McCracken, 10.
  • Kentucky hospitals reported 420 Covid-19 patients, 20 fewer than Thursday; 113 of them in intensive care, down 7; and 50 on a ventilator, down 5. 

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