LEXINGTON, Ky. – Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced Monday, Jan. 4, the four-phase plan for administering the commonwealth’s allotment of COVID-19 vaccines, and some hospitals and health departments developed plans to ensure people included in those phases are made aware then it is their turn. 

What You Need To Know

  • Kentucky has a four-phase rollout plan

  • The state is currently in Phase 1A

  • Technology will play a big part in letting people know

  • Health departments and hospitals are developing plans

The first phase includes three stages, and Kentucky is still in Phase 1A, which includes healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care and assisted living facilities. When one phase ends and another begins, members of the prioritized groups will need to know the vaccine is available to them and where to get it. 

Kentucky Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack urged vaccination sites to use the prioritization guidance provided by the defined phases to “ramp up the pace” at which the vaccines are administered. 

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is working with local medical, dental, pharmacy, and other healthcare organizations to provide the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to providers and staff members included in Phase 1A that have not registered to receive the vaccine, are not expected to receive it from their employer, and those that interact directly with patients. The health department has created the website www.lfchd.org/covid19-vaccine so those included in Phase 1A and subsequent phases may receive notifications about future vaccination clinics. Health department communications officer Kevin Hall noted the website is for information purposes only and does not register one for an upcoming clinic.

Pikeville Medical Center (PMC), which serves a sizable area in Eastern Kentucky, unveiled www.pmcvaccine.com on Tuesday, Jan. 5, to enable a segment of the population in Phase1B – anyone over the age of 70 – to register for a COVID-19 vaccination. 

“In Pike County alone, there are an estimated 10,000 residents 70 and over, placing them in the 1B phase of the vaccination rollout,” said Donovan Blackburn, PMC vice president of the board of directors and CEO. “This is a segment of our population who need to be protected, and we are offering this website to enable them to get registered as quickly as possible.  This is another huge step for our region in our fight against COVID-19.”

Blackburn said vaccinations for the 70-and-over population will begin as soon as the next shipment of vaccines arrives at PMC, which could be as early as next week.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) operates 11 hospitals and multiple clinics in Eastern Kentucky. ARH Marketing and Communications Manager Melissa Cornett said the hospital system is currently finalizing its process to make information about who can get the vaccine, when he or she may receive it, and where.

Developing a vaccine scheduler for the most massive vaccine rollout in history is no small task and can pose a considerable burden on small, local governments that are strapped for money and technology. Some counties in Florida and Oklahoma have used free online invitation services such as Eventbrite and SignUpGenius, especially after callers to appointment hotlines were left on hold for hours and heavy traffic crashed websites, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times.

Johns Hopkins Carey Business School professor Tinglong Dai told USA Today he would not be surprised if thousands of Americans will not know when it is their turn for a vaccine because of the “information gap.” 

Most states will employ traditional media campaigns to disseminate information, such as press conferences from governors, community outreach, and text and email campaigns, according to the CDC.