Beshear pushing vaccines for younger Kentuckians

Published 7:09 am Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Gov. Andy Beshear has once again urged Kentuckians to get vaccinated against COVID-19, especially those who are younger.

During a Monday virtual press conference at the Capitol, the governor said over 1.9 million Kentuckians have had at least one dose of the three vaccines that are available, the one dose Johnson & Johnson, and the two-dose Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

He said overall, 54% of the state’s adult population have had at least one shot, with older Kentuckians doing the best. Of those 65+ the rate is 80%, from 50-64 it’s nearly 60%, but then drops off sharply from there. For those 40-49, it’s 45% and falls to 29% for those 18-29.

That had a direct bearing on the 285 new cases reported to state public health officials on Monday, according to Beshear. “(The) 10-19 year-olds had the highest incidence rate in the report. The next age group had the second highest. We’re actually seeing a very low incident rate in our oldest seniors. This virus is shifting who is getting infected because of who is, but more, who is not getting the vaccine.”

Only five counties had a double-digit number of cases. Jefferson 89, Campbell 20, McCracken 17, Kenton 16, and Boone 14. There have now been 452,821 positive cases of COVID-19 since the first one was reported in Harrison County on March 6, 2020.

The governor noted that the number of cases last week continued a three-week slow decline, as did the positivity rate, which is at 2.78%, based on a seven-day rolling average.

Six new deaths were reported on Monday, with none from the ongoing audit of death certificates issued last fall and winter. Jefferson County had two, while there was one each in Daviess, Fayette Green, and Pike counties. There have now been 6,652 Kentuckians lost due to the coronavirus.

Although the mask mandate was lifted last week in most cases for those who have been fully vaccinated, he stated, “Remember, that some businesses in some areas are going to decide to keep masking requirements in place. You ought to respect that. Carry a mask with you and use it when you need to. Respect people out there who continue to wear them for different reasons. That certainly ought to be their choice.”

When asked by Kentucky Today about the confusion caused by the sudden lifting of mask mandates by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Beshear responded, “I think the CDC caught us all by surprise, but it is good news. My understanding is they got back some really big federal studies that convinced them of how safe you are if vaccinated. Once they knew that, they didn’t need to waste time calling me before they told the people of Kentucky and America.”

He added even those who are not vaccinated don’t have to wear a mask in most venues in Kentucky, effective June 11.