Gov. Andy Beshear said an increasing number of vaccinated Kentuckians are contracting COVID-19, stressing the importance of receiving a booster dose.
At a State Capitol briefing Thursday, Governor and First Lady Britainy Beshear led by example and received their booster shots. Beshear said the boosters not only protect people from the virus as immunity wanes over time, but also protect against the next variant.
“If we had another surge in COVID, there would be fewer people infected and spreading the infection,” Beshear explained. “It will also reduce the likelihood of hospitalization of the person who received the booster, which will further reduce the death toll.”
Booster doses are recommended for people 65 years of age and older. Also eligible are people over the age of 18 living in long-term groups, those with underlying health problems and those exposed to other people through work.
The boosters also apply to recipients of the Johnson & Johnson single injection vaccine, with a booster recommended for them at least two months after vaccination.
Beshear announced on Thursday 1,398 new cases of COVID-19 and 30 deaths. The state’s positivity rate is 5.03%.
Meanwhile, a number of drugstore chains are planning to start administering the COVID-19 vaccine to children under 12 this weekend.
The rollout of the vaccine for children aged five to 11 won’t be as limited as it was initially for adults, but Kentuky Public Health Commissioner Steven Stack insisted on patience as the vaccine is shipped to pediatricians’ offices, pharmacies and hospitals. He added that the Pfizer vaccine for children under 12 will be widely available in a few weeks.
Acknowledging that there may be hesitation on the part of parents, Dr Stack said the vaccine has been studied in 3,000 children and none showed signs of myocarditis or other heart problems.
“There were also no other serious adverse events, and the children tolerated the vaccine with fewer side effects than the adults,” Stack explained.
Speaking alongside Stack, Governor Andy Beshear said his 11-year-old daughter would receive the vaccine on Monday.
The vaccine is one third of the dose given to older children and adults, and given through smaller needles. The pediatric vaccine requires two doses three weeks apart, plus an additional two weeks to develop full protection. This means that children who get vaccinated before Thanksgiving will be covered before Christmas.