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Baptist Health Shares Vaccine Distribution Plan
By West Kentucky Star Staff & Baptist Health
PADUCAH - When will the COVID-19 vaccine be available to me?

The first COVID-19 vaccines approved for public use are now available. Initial shipments arrived at healthcare facilities, including four Baptist Health hospitals, in December. Quantities are currently limited until vaccine production ramps up. In response, government agencies, public health officials, and healthcare organizations have developed a phased approach to vaccine distribution. Persons and groups who are at greater risk for COVID-19 infection will be prioritized first. When supplies expand, vaccination will be encouraged for the population as a whole.

How will the phased approach to vaccination work?
Kentucky provides a good example of how the phased approach will work. Governor Beshear of Kentucky announced on December 3 that the Commonwealth would receive a mid-month shipment of 38,000 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. These vaccines were distributed among 11 selected hospitals, including four Baptist Health facilities. A shipment of Moderna vaccines were then distributed to the remaining Baptist Health hospitals. These hospitals have been identified as safe storage locations for the vaccine.

In general, the vaccine will be made available in three phases: 

Phase 1: Healthcare workers and residents and staff of long-term care facilities, including nursing homes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data make clear that these are among the most vulnerable of all populations to COVID-19 infection. Additional distinctions are being made between healthcare workers with direct patient contact and persons in administrative positions, who will be a lower priority.

Phase 2: Frontline essential workers and individuals who are 75 years or older. Essential workers have been defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as those with jobs or responsibilities that are critical to maintaining infrastructure operations. The frontline group includes emergency responders, grocery store employees, and teachers. Others, including construction workers and restaurant employees, will be included in phase 3. The elderly are among the hardest hit by COVID-19, so seniors living outside of long-term care residences will be eligible for immunization during phase 2.

Phase 3: Remaining population. Once supplies reach sufficient numbers, all remaining populations will be encouraged to receive the vaccine. This will include persons under age 75 with underlying medical conditions, such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease, who are known to be more susceptible to COVID-19 than individuals without comorbidities. There may be some exceptions, including persons who have experienced severe reactions to similar vaccines in the past. Pregnant women should consult their physician prior to being inoculated.
These criteria are being further adapted to local circumstances. State governments, public health officials, and healthcare organizations are adjusting these criteria based on disease incidence, vaccine supplies and availability, and other pertinent factors.

If you have questions about whether to be immunized for COVID-19, talk with your provider. He or she will have an informed perspective on your situation and can provide guidance on if, when, and how to be vaccinated.
 
How was the phased approach developed?
The phased approach was developed based on the goals that organizations such as the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) have used in managing the American response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDC’s vaccination goals include:
Decrease death and serious disease as much as possible
Preserve functioning of society
Reduce the extra burden the disease is having on people already facing disparities
Increase the chance for everyone to enjoy health and well-being

ACIP’s ethical principles include:
Maximize benefits and minimize harm
Mitigate health inequities
Promote justice
Promote transparency

Other public health organizations, including the World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE), have contributed to the formulation of the U.S. COVID-19 rollout strategy.

Baptist Health is committed to helping end the COVID-19 crisis. COVID-19 is one of the most serious medical challenges confronted in recent times. Baptist Health is proud to do its part to end this crisis through the administration of a safe and effective vaccination program.

Published 09:41 AM, Wednesday Jan. 06, 2021
Updated 09:53 AM, Wednesday Jan. 06, 2021

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