A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Pandemic depressing vaccination rates, but it’s safe to take our kids to health-care providers

By Lisa Gillespie Kentucky Health News Not as many Kentucky children are getting critical vaccinations as they did previous years, tracking a nationwide trend of parents staying away from health-care centers to avoid the coronavirus. Last April, 27,906 Kentucky 1-year-olds were vaccinated for diseases such as Hepatitis B, influenza, polio and measles/mumps/rubella. But only 17,463 1-year-olds were...

Pandemic exposes problems in funding for Kentucky’s non-hospital public health system

From 2010 to 2018, Kentucky’s non-hospital public health expenses per resident dropped 32 percent, more than any state but South Carolina and Nevada, which dropped 55 and 33 percent, respectively. A comprehensive story by reporters for The Associated Press and Kaiser Health News says “The U.S. public health system has been starved for decades and lacks the resources to confront the worst health...

Flu spreads in Kentucky as holiday season begins; best advice is to get vaccinated, don’t shake hands

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Kentucky has seen 785 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza since the flu season started in late September, and health officials say there are many more. So far the hot spot has been around Hazard. A recent uptick in cases has prompted the state health department to upgrade the state’s flu activity level to “regional,” a classification that...

State officials defend handling of hepatitis A outbreak in wake of additional warnings, legislators concerns

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News State Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Adam Meier called a news conference on March 1 to discuss the state’s hepatitis A outbreak and spent most of the time criticizing news-media coverage, mainly the Louisville Courier Journal’s investigation that revealed state health officials had rejected expert advice to mount a stronger response. Since...

New state health commissioner Jeffrey Howard’s sincerity, passion ‘a breath of fresh air’ for Kentucky

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Kentucky’s recently installed health commissioner is a 30-year-old doctor, two years short of being a surgeon, a goal he still plans to achieve. But right now he’s in charge of public health in a state with huge health issues, and local health departments with big financial issues. Dr. Jeffrey Howard is still learning. He will graduate from Harvard...