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.
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.