Governor directs school districts to prepare rosters of personnel willing to be vaccinated

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Governor Andy Beshear on Friday told the state’s superintendents during a virtual meeting, to begin preparing rosters of school personnel who are willing to receive a coronavirus vaccine when they become available, according to the Kentucky Department of Education.

Vaccines are distributed at the federal level, but states direct where they need to go, according to the governor.

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Beshear expects the Pfizer two-dose vaccine to become available by Dec. 15 and anticipates Kentucky receiving 38,000 doses in the first round of distribution. The initial doses will go to healthcare providers and nursing home residents and staff, though there won’t be enough to vaccinate them all.

Two weeks after the state receives its first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine, the state expects to receive the shipment of the Moderna vaccinations, which is twice as many as the first Pfizer delivery, according to Beshear.

After healthcare providers and residents and staff at long-term care facilities, the Commonwealth then will prioritize EMS workers and educators.

“That recognizes the exposure (to the virus) that educators have within the building,” Beshear said. “But it also recognizes the absolute, critical importance of what they do and how much better in-person classes are.”

Since the goal is to make schools as safe as possible, Beshear said all school staff who are willing to be vaccinated should be included on the rosters. However, since it is unlikely that one shipment of vaccines will cover everyone within a school, districts still should consider prioritizing those who have a higher chance of exposure to the virus, Beshear said.

The Kentucky Department of Education anticipates collaborating with the Kentucky Department for Public Health and the governor’s office to provide additional guidance to districts about vaccine distribution before their winter break.

“This is great news,” said Commissioner of Education Jason E. Glass. “It’s exciting to think about the beginning of the end of what has been a really difficult period for all of us.”

Beshear wrapped up his call by reminding the superintendents of the importance of modeling healthy behaviors and compliance with mask mandates within their local communities. Once the conversation about vaccines and how they will be distributed begins, Beshear said the harsh realities of the virus can become avoidable.

“I’m certainly committed to making sure that we fight that one really hard, and we need your help to do that,” he said.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.