The Kentucky Department for Public Health (KDPH) has announced an initial draft plan for the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to local health care facilities when it becomes available.
According to KDPH, many candidate vaccines for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, are currently in development. Trials are currently being done to ensure the safety of and effectiveness of the potential vaccines, and KDPH hopes that one or more will soon be ready to seek approval for Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA.
KDPH says it's assuming that limited COVID-19 vaccine doses may be available in late 2020, but the COVID-19 vaccine supply will "increase substantially" in 2021.
Assuming the supply of the vaccine would be limited at first, KDPH has outlined a phased distribution plan, with different groups prioritized to receive the vaccine sooner rather than later based on different criteria.
The first group includes high-risk healthcare workers, first responders, people with significant comorbid conditions (defined as having two or more), and older adults in overcrowded settings.
Phase two includes K-12 teachers and school staff and childcare workers, critical workers in high-risk settings, people with moderate comorbid conditions, people in homeless shelters or group homes, and incarcerated individuals/staff.
The third phase includes young adults, children, and workers in industries important to the functioning of society.
While a vaccine is within grasp however, Dr. Roy Arnold with 21st Century Healthcare worries speed is being prioritized over safety.
"This [vaccine] is being produced in a matter of months," he said. "I am concerned that there will be side effects that have not yet been discovered that will turn up later on."
The vaccine is still in its trial stage and it is still unclear how many doses a person would need, and with roughly 100 million doses expected for the U.S., Dr. Arnold questions how effective it will actually be.
"If you get 100 million doses and 50% of them are effective in fighting that off, that means you've got 50 million immune people out of a population of 340 million and it could easily be a second pandemic."
KDHP expects distributing the vaccine to all Kentuckians will likely take a year or more to complete.
You can view the entire document from KDPH below.