State health leaders ask for patience as plans for vaccine distribution take shape

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDKY) – Two different vaccines are expected within just 10 months of the first reported case of COVID-19 in Kentucky.

“This is nothing short of a modern medical miracle,” Dr. Steven Stack with Kentucky Department for Public Health said.

Monday Gov. Andy Beshear announced dates for three shipments, one Pfizer allocation and two Moderna allocations, equaling more than 148,000 doses in the month of December.

The state is also expecting two more shipments of the Pfizer vaccine, but the dates and number of doses have not been released yet.

“It is amazing what we can do if we are given the money and the motivation to do so,” Lexington Emergency Physician Dr. Ryan Stanton said.

But, for both state health experts like Dr. Stack and local experts like Dr. Stanton, their excitement is tempered by the reality of how much time it will take to distribute the vaccine.

“I now need to ask everybody’s patience and everybody to take a deep breath for the next few weeks,” Dr. Stack said. “These are products that are miraculous in their science, but they require special storage conditions, they are new technology, they require us to have distribution systems to reach designated populations, the quantities are still being determined, and the information changes on a weekly, daily, and sometimes hourly basis.”

Despite its fast track to seek FDA approval, Dr. Stanton said the risks with the vaccine outweigh the harsh reality of the virus.

“The most important thing to understand is there is no zero risk option here,” Dr. Stanton said. “The vaccine has very, very low risk, but there is still a little bit of risk, but that is nothing compared to the risk associated with COVID-19.”

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