LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Vaccine distribution began Monday morning in Kentucky, a turning point in a pandemic that has claimed the lives of over 2,000 in the Commonwealth.

What You Need To Know

  • First COVID-19 vaccinations administered in Kentucky

  • Five front-line healthcare workers vaccinated

  • Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Louisville Sunday afternoon

  • Vaccines arrived at UofL Hospital around 9:45 a.m.

The initial vaccines were administered to five front-line healthcare workers at the University of Louisville Hospital around 11 a.m. Dr. Jason Smith, chief medical officer at UofL Health, was the first Kentuckian to receive the vaccine.

Valerie Briones-Pryor, MD receives her vaccine/COURTESY UofL HEALTH

“Hopefully by this time next year, this will all be behind us, and we’ll be able to be back to something more normal as far as our daily lives are concerned,” Smith said before receiving the vaccine. “Our kids will be back in school, our stores and restaurants are going to be open. All of the things that we cherish in our daily lives will be back to normal, and it starts today.”

The other front-line healthcare workers who received the vaccine are Valerie Briones-Pryor, MD; Mohamed Saad, MD; LaShawn Scott, MSN/Ed, RN, CCRN-K; and Beth Sum, BSN.

Dr. Mohamed Saad receives his vaccine/COURTESY UofL Health
LaShawn Scott, RN. was also one of the first five to receive the vaccine
Beth Sum, RN received her vaccine Monday as well./COURTESY UofL Health

Gov. Andy Beshear delivered remarks, calling Monday a "historic" day for Kentucky.

“We are here this morning at the University of Louisville Hospital to mark the true beginning of the end of this pandemic,” Beshear said. “And hopefully, while it starts here, it spreads out across this country and across this world.” 

He continued, "This is a historic achievement that promises to save lives in this fight, restore our economy, get our kids back to school, and let our kids hug their grandparents once again.”

Two other Kentucky hospitals, including Baptist Health Lexington and the Medical Center at Bowling Green, received 975 doses of the vaccine and began their vaccination plans Monday.

The vaccinations come just one day after Pfizer's vaccine arrived in Louisville Sunday afternoon. The majority of Kentucky's initial vaccine shipment will go to long-term care facility residents and front-line healthcare workers. 

Seven Kentucky hospitals are expected to receive vaccine shipments Tuesday: Baptist Health Corbin, Baptist Health Louisville, Baptist Health Madisonville, Norton Hospital, Pikeville Medical Center, St. Elizabeth Healthcare Edgewood and University of Kentucky Medical Center.

“We know the vaccine is vitally important to getting back to normal, and we are thankful to be a part of this effort to eradicate COVID-19,” said Baptist Health Corbin President Anthony Powers. “We stand ready to play a key role in this crucial initiative as we begin vaccinating our front-line health workers and our community as more supplies of vaccine become available over the next several months.”

Haeli Spears is a digital producer with Spectrum News 1 Kentucky. She is a University of Louisville graduate who started her career with Spectrum News in May, 2020.