A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Thousands of UK vaccine clinic openings remain available as community works toward immunity

By Lindsey Piercy University of Kentucky It’s a mission the University of Kentucky strives to live up to each and every day – to be the University of, for and with Kentucky. Now, you can be part of that mission to meet this unprecedented moment and help create a healthier, safer community. Kentuckians, regardless of the phase they fall into, are encouraged to request an appointment for a COVID-19...

McConnell urges Republican men to get vaccine; Beshear asks other GOP leaders to follow his lead

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News After touring the mass-vaccination site at the University of Kentucky’s Kroger Field Monday, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell urged Kentuckians to get vaccinated, especially Republican men, who polls have found are some of the most reluctant to get a shot. “I saw on some program last week that Republican men, curiously enough, might be reluctant...

‘I Got The Shot’ public service campaign to address vaccine concerns raised by Black Kentuckians

Black Kentuckians who are hesitant about getting a Covid-19 vaccine often have the same questions as their white counterparts. But many have additional concerns that may emanate from their experiences with racism in the health care system and America’s history of unethical medical experiments on Black populations. I Got The Shot to Protect the Ones I Love is the theme of a new public service...

Ballard County school nurses step up to help community administer COVID-19 vaccinations

By Jim Gaines Kentucky Teacher The first doses of vaccine against COVID-19 arrived in Ballard County in January, ready for distribution to 26 first responders, but the local health department had a problem. Its only available nurse, Melissa Ballard, was in COVID-19 quarantine. Then, another member of the Ballard County Health Department’s three-person staff also was out on quarantine soon afterward. But...

Governor reports 1,003 cases, 40 deaths, 7.78% positivity; vaccines coming to Walgreens

As new cases continue to decline, Gov. Andy Beshear said the state is working to address equitable vaccine access. Beshear reported 1,003 cases, 40 deaths and a positivity rate of 7.78%. Fayette reported 69 cases. “One thing to note when you look at the vaccine demographic data. We have more individuals in long-term care under 70 than I had ever imagined,” said Gov. Beshear. “With that said,...

Commentary: COVID-19 vaccines are a triumph of science — and our best chance to end the pandemic

By Marc T. Kiviniemi, PhD, CPH, and Donna K. Arnett, PhD, MSPH Special to KyForward With COVID-19 vaccines becoming more widely available, we may finally be seeing some light at the end of the pandemic tunnel. If we can vaccinate enough people quickly enough, life may begin to look a little closer to normal later this year. We’re excited to see children return to school, to see our own students in...

University of Kentucky pharmacist busting myths about COVID-19 vaccine to separate fact from fiction

By Mallory Olson University of Kentucky Over the past year, a novel, highly contagious virus has spread across the world. Scientists and researchers have worked quickly to respond with vaccine development, two of which have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for emergency use so far. As the vaccine rollout continues for frontline health care workers and others in the most...

Governor says ‘stay safe’ for the holidays; officials get vaccine; reports 3,057 cases, 28 deaths

Gov. Andy Beshear said he hoped all Kentuckians will have a wonderful Christmas, encouraging them to keep gatherings small and safe so they may enjoy many future holidays with their loved ones. “I want to make sure I start by asking everybody to make that additional sacrifice and do their part to keep their Christmas celebrations small,” said Gov. Beshear. “With the rest of the country on fire,...

‘Beginning of the end’: Major milestone in virus fight as Kentucky receives first vaccine shipment

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Sunday saw a major milestone in the fight against COVID-19, as the first shipment of vaccine arrived in Kentucky. The initial shipment of the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was delivered to Louisville’s UPS Worldport. It was the first vaccine to win approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, receiving final regulatory approval Friday evening. The first shipment...

Beshear reports 3,892 cases, 23 deaths — a record week already with one day to go

Gov. Andy Beshear announced on Saturday that Kentucky has had its new highest week of COVID-19 cases, even with one day left to report and encouraged Kentuckians to keep fighting. He reported 3,892 cases and 23 deaths. Fayette County had 304 new cases and one death. “With a day still to go, we have set a new one-week record for highest cases in the Commonwealth,” Beshear said. “We are all sacrificing...

Gov. Beshear reports 2,437 cases, 14 deaths, says ‘Hang on’ as vaccine is on the way

Gov. Andy Beshear urged Kentuckians to strengthen their resolve in the fight against COVID-19, with the knowledge that help is on the way. “I know we’re tired. I know many of us are disappointed we couldn’t celebrate Thanksgiving or enjoy Black Friday shopping the way we usually do. But I promise you: we have come so far and we are almost there. Hang on, Team Kentucky,” the Governor said. He...

Experts say COVID-19 vaccine will come with challenges and cautions after distribution

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Even after a vaccine is approved for the novel coronavirus and is widely distributed, it will still be important to follow public-health recommendations to thwart the spread of the virus, including basic hand hygiene, social distancing and wearing a mask. That’s partly because the vaccine only has to be 50 percent effective at preventing COVID-19, and the...

State issues plan for distributing COVID-19 vaccine; Anderson County residents hesitant

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The Kentucky Department for Public Health has issued its draft plan for distributing a COVID-19 vaccine, when it becomes available, that addresses everything from who can get it first to how it must be stored. It also recognizes that “a portion of the U.S. population may hesitate to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.” To address this hesitancy, the plan...

Answers from the doctors: This is not the year to risk it — get a flu shot, which is especially important now

By Monalisa Taylor, Lewis Hargett and Heidi Margulis Special to KyForward This is not the year to risk it. Get a flu shot. As physicians, we now end each patient visit like this: “I am encouraging all of my patients to get the flu shot this year. With both the flu and the coronavirus going around, it will be a difficult season. Having more than one virus increases your risk of going to the hospital....

Carrying around too many pounds? Vaccine for COVID-19 could be less effective for obese adults

Looking forward to getting a vaccine for the novel coronavirus when it becomes available? If you’re carrying around way too many pounds, it would be a good idea to lose some. “Vaccines engineered to protect the public from influenza, hepatitis B, tetanus and rabies can be less effective in obese adults than in the general population, leaving them more vulnerable to infection and illness,”...

Dr. Kevin Kavanagh: The virus is winning, and COVID-19 will not be defeated by false narratives

Society is struggling on two fronts, both for social justice and at the same time to control a raging epidemic. The epidemic of COVID-19 may be with us for a long time — and those who try to minimize it are doing so by placing front-line workers and economically disadvantaged populations at risk. I have been asked by many if I am on the side of the far right, whose narrative trivializes the dangers...

Bevin says he exposed his kids to chickenpox, rejecting vaccinations; health officials say that’s risky

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Gov. Matt Bevin said in a radio interview that he exposed his nine children to chickenpox instead of vaccinating them, a practice that is strongly opposed by health officials as risky. Bevin also cast doubt on longstanding government policy of requiring vaccinations and incorrectly attributed the requirement to the federal government rather than the state. His...

Kentucky health officials urge vaccination against the flu as best precaution against it; stop the spread

By Tom Latek Kentucky Today Kentucky health officials are once again reminding residents to get vaccinated against the flu.

 Officials reported 28 laboratory-confirmed cases of flu and one influenza-related death. The state flu activity level is classified as “sporadic.” 

 The report consists of laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza that are defined by molecular virus testing and positive...

Hepatitis A outbreak in Kentucky worst ever — over 900 cases confirmed, six deaths — and it isn’t over

Kentucky Health News State health officials say the hepatitis A outbreak in Kentucky is the worst ever, and the crisis isn’t over. “It’s the worst on record across the nation and in Kentucky,” Dr. Jeff Howard, Kentucky Commissioner of Public Health, told Beth Warren of the Louisville Courier-Journal. Kentucky health officials have confirmed 969 cases and six deaths from...