Vaccine milestone: 2 million Kentuckians have had at least one dose

Two million Kentuckians have now received at least one dose of the COVID-19, while new cases and the state’s positivity rate have now dropped for three straight weeks, Gov. Andy Beshear said on Tuesday.

“Fifteen months after the first case here in Kentucky,” he said during a virtual Capitol press briefing, “Not only do we have effective vaccines but two million Kentuckians already being vaccinated is really exciting.”

The current number is 2,006,742, and Beshear noted with the opening up of the Pfizer vaccine to those ages 12-15, last week’s vaccination numbers, the first full week younger people could receive it, were nearly double the week before. He also said there could be more vaccines available to younger folks, with vaccine news announced Tuesday.

“Moderna announced its COVID-19 vaccine in early trials is 100% effective in their study of adolescents ages 12 to 17,” he said. “This is the age group Pfizer has already gotten emergency approval for and is currently the only vaccine for ages 12-17 that have been approved. Moderna says it is going to seek that FDA emergency approval in June to expand their use, so teenagers can have two options, and there will be more supply for them.”

He added, “This is really important, as we try to get our kids vaccinated before they head into their next school year, so we can have a fully normal return to school.”

Gov. Beshear said in-person visitation will resume at all state prisons and juvenile justice facilities, the week of June 20. Contact information will be posted on the Department of Corrections and Department of Juvenile Justice websites on June 4.

“The visits must be scheduled in advance of the visit,” he said. “Each inmate and youth housed in custody will be allowed two visitors at a time, due to social distancing requirements. All visitors must provide proof of a completed COVID-19 vaccination card, wear a mask, and practice social distancing at all times during the appointment.”

County jails are not affected by the announcement.

There were 580 new cases reported to state public health officials on Tuesday, which Beshear called the lowest Tuesday in three months, and continued a three-week trend of fewer cases. There have now been 456,626 positive cases in Kentucky, since the first one was reported on March 6, 2020.

There were also five deaths, four of which came from local health departments, two from Lewis County, and one each from Jefferson and Kenton counties. The other was from the ongoing audit of death certificates issued last fall and winter and was a resident of Pike County.

The positivity rate Tuesday was 2.52%, which is also continuing a three-week-long reduction in the rate, which is based on a seven-day rolling average of tests versus positive cases.