LOUISVILLE, KY — The highly-anticipated rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine may be overshadowing the limited availability of doses, resulting in some not understanding how long the wait will be.

What You Need To Know

  • Vaccines are being distributed, but availability is very limited at the moment

  • Healthcare workers and those in long-term care facilities are prioritized

  • Gov. Beshear expects educators to be vaccinated in Febuary, if not earlier

  • Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines should both be widely available by late spring or early summer

For days, all eyes have been on the triumphant images of the first COVID-19 vaccines landing by plane, being delivered to Kentucky hospitals and given to doctors, nurses, and the first patients.

So it’s understandable some people may think the pandemic is closer to being over than it actually is.

"These life saving vaccines, it’ll take time but we will get there," Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said in part on Monday.

For many Kentuckians the most important part of that statement is, “It will take time.”

"The first frontline workers are being vaccinate this week and long-term care staff and residents will shortly follow," Fischer said.

Still, it's reasonable to believe some people think the vaccine is already widely available — it is not. Weekly press briefings, live Facebook announcements, and phone hotlines are a few ways public health officials in Kentucky are informing the public.

There are much more low-tech ways of getting a message out too. A Walgreens in Louisville has posted a sign on the front door that reads, "COVID-19 Vaccine Not Yet Available."

“Efforts are underway to educate people and give them all the information they need to make sure they can make an informed decision and then as you noted the logistics of delivering vaccines to the entire population is complicated and not to be underestimated," said William Altman of Kindred Healthcare. 

One of the most important pieces of information being communicated is when you get vaccinated. That depends on what so-called “tier" the federal government has grouped you in. 

“It starts at the federal level where the federal government makes certain determinations about which categories of people by their employment are in which level. We talk about Tier 1-A which are our healthcare workers and our long-term care residents and Tier 1-B which are critical infrastructure. That guidance comes from the federal government.”