FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – More state leaders received the vaccination against COVID-19 on Wednesday, including Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, Chief Judge Denise G. Clayton of the Kentucky Court of Appeals, acting Kentucky State Police Commissioner Phillip Burnett Jr. and Emergency Management Director Michael Dossett.
Other state leaders who received the vaccine on Wednesday included Gov. Andy Beshear’s chief of staff, La Tasha Buckner, and his senior advisor, Rocky Adkins, and Virginia Moore, executive director of the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, who has been instrumental in helping Gov. Beshear reach more Kentuckians during the pandemic.
Their vaccinations follow the first vaccinations in Kentucky on Dec. 14, when the first round of hospitals began receiving and administering 38,000 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to front-line health care workers.
On Monday, long-term care facility residents and staff began receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine through Walgreens and CVS, which have an agreement with the federal government.
This week, about 80 regional hospitals and more than 90 local health departments are receiving over 70,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine to inoculate more health care workers.
“These vaccines are safe, they’re effective, and they will save the lives of thousands of Kentuckians and help us end this long nightmare,” said Gov. Beshear. “By the end of this month, we are expecting more than 200,000 doses of vaccines that will slow the spread of COVID and protect our health care heroes, our veterans and residents and workers at long-term care facilities.”
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommended during a call Monday with governors that all governors be vaccinated in public as soon as possible to build confidence in the vaccines.
Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, urged state leaders to receive the vaccination for the continuity of state government and to demonstrate to Kentuckians that the vaccine is safe and effective.
Dr. Stack urged state leaders to receive the vaccination for the continuity of state government and to demonstrate to Kentuckians that the vaccine is safe and effective.
“Today, I proudly took the vaccine that is ending our fight against COVID-19. Thank you to the countless scientists, physicians and logistics experts who made this possible. You are heroes, and Team Kentucky extends our deepest thanks,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman. “As more vaccines are currently being distributed to front-line health workers and those most at risk, let us continue the work to build a better Kentucky for everyone.”
The leaders who were vaccinated Wednesday emphasized the safety of the vaccine and encouraged other leaders to take the vaccine when it is their turn.
“I appreciate the opportunity to take the COVID vaccination. This year has been a time of great sacrifice and suffering. It has also been a time when people have stepped up and worked together to help each other,” Chief Judge Clayton said. “I am encouraged that this vaccine may allow us to meet together and continue the work that has been achieved this year to foster a compassionate and caring society.”
“I am honored to be a part of the process that will keep Kentuckians safe,” said Commissioner Burnett. “I encourage other law enforcement leaders to ensure their officers have access to the vaccine which will not only provide them protection, but members of their family as well.”
“This is a time for hope. We’re in the holiday season. The vaccine is here. It’s safe. We urge everyone in Kentucky, when the opportunity presents itself, to take the vaccine and save a life,” Dossett said. “We’re on the other side. We’re heading toward recovery from COVID. We still have several hard months to get through, but we’re all hopeful and this is the season to celebrate and be with your immediate family, but take precautions. The Governor has given us remarkable leadership at this point and we are moving to a better time in 2021.”
“Leaders in health care, state government, law enforcement, the judiciary, emergency management and now our most ardent advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing have all received the vaccine to demonstrate it’s safe and that this is our best tool to stop this deadly virus,” Buckner said. “This was painless and I encourage all Kentuckians to roll up their sleeves when it is their turn to take the fight to COVID.”
“Today, I see this as a vaccine of hope to save lives in the future, to get us back to some sort of normalcy and to be able to get back to seeing our family and friends face-to-face,” Adkins said. “I am asking everyone to take this vaccine, to take this shot when you get the opportunity. It’s safe. I wouldn’t be here today if I didn’t believe 100% in the safety of this vaccine.”
“This vaccine is our way of communicating our unity to beat COVID,” Moore said.
Gov. Beshear, First Lady Britainy Beshear, Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John D. Minton Jr., House Speaker David Osborne, Senate President Robert Stivers, Dr. Stack and J. Michael Brown, the highest appointed official in Kentucky as secretary of the executive cabinet, also received the initial dose of the vaccination against the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) on Tuesday.
With the Tuesday vaccination, the heads of the three branches of Kentucky government each received their initial dose of the Moderna vaccine ensuring the continuity of state government during this pandemic and demonstrating broad, bipartisan support for the safe, effective COVID-19 vaccination.
Michelle Searcy, BSN, RN, school health supervisor with the Franklin County Health Department, administered the vaccines on Tuesday and Wednesday in the Capitol Rotunda.
Gov. Beshear encouraged other community leaders including those in elected office, business executives and faith leaders, to take the vaccine when it is their turn. Meanwhile, until more people are vaccinated, the Governor said Kentuckians must continue to take precautions to slow the spread and save more Kentuckians from COVID, which has already killed more than 2,400 people in the commonwealth alone. People must continue wearing masks, social distance and avoid gatherings.
As of Wednesday, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been administered to more than 8,800 Kentuckians, predominantly health care workers.
With both vaccines, a second dose is required about three weeks later. Gov. Beshear said Kentucky is expecting more than 202,000 doses of vaccine before the end of the month with the second dose coming for each about three to four weeks later.