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Koster Seeking Larger Space for Vaccination Clinic
By Bill Hughes
PADUCAH - The Purchase District Health Department is hoping to partner with someone in the near future to have more room to vaccinate large numbers of people. 

During Wednesday's city-county vaccination news conference, Health Department Director Kent Koster said they have received smaller shipments of the vaccine than local hospitals, but he has asked the Kentucky Department of Public Health for more. 

Koster said some surrounding counties have a much smaller number of first responders and health care workers than McCracken County, so they began using their additional vaccines on anyone over age 70 or those who work in schools. This means those counties have transitioned this week from phase 1A of the vaccination process into phase 1B, while McCracken is still in 1A. 

Koster said, "I've had direct conversations with Dr. Stack about this situation, and asked for additional vaccine to help catch up McCracken County  with some of our other surrounding counties who have already moved away from their 1A phase."

He said that counties that have already moved into phase 1B will be limited in getting more vaccine until all Kentucky counties get to the same phase. 

Koster believes McCracken County could move from 1A to 1B in three to four weeks, but that depends on the number of additional shipments of the vaccine.

Koster indicated that students in the WKCTC nursing program have been trained in giving vaccines, and once they are registered, they should be able to help the health department or at local clinics that could pop up. 

He praised local hospitals for their help in distributing vaccines so far, and he's hoping to have access to a larger facility where up to 500 people could be vaccinated each day. It could work using a setup similar to short-term testing sites that opened in 2020 at Heartland Worship Center or WKCTC. 

"We would have to have a larger facility, and obviously, it would be better if it was indoors. The problem with that is that after you receive your vaccination, we have to monitor you for fifteen minutes. So, you would have to have parking lot big enough for people to pull into to sit for fifteen minutes and for us to check up with them," Koster said. 

He regularly communicates with Dr. Jenny Franke and Dr. Brad Housman, the top health care officials at Mercy Health Lourdes and Baptist Health Paducah, and welcomes any other input on a possible large-scale vaccination venue. 

Koster reminded everyone that the vaccine is safe, and he has received no local reports of adverse reactions to the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. 

He said Dr. Stack predicted that at the current rate of production and distribution of the vaccine, 65 percent of Kentucky's population could be vaccinated by the end of June. 

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Published 01:44 PM, Friday Jan. 08, 2021
Updated 09:02 PM, Saturday Jan. 09, 2021

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