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Fewer vaccines allotted for rural Kentucky

SALYERSVILLE – Magoffin County received bad news on Wednesday concerning COVID-19 vaccine availability for rural areas.

SALYERSVILLE – Magoffin County received bad news on Wednesday concerning COVID-19 vaccine availability for rural areas.

On January 6, Magoffin County Health Director and Salyersville Mayor James “Pete” Shepherd said he was told by Frankfort that they will not be getting the 200 vaccines they were expecting to receive this week.

While they were supposed to get a shipment of 200 vaccines each week automatically at this point, he said they now have to request how many vaccines they could administer in the next seven days, with no guarantee of getting any doses due to the backup of vaccines not being administered in metropolitan areas.

“They told us that until their medical providers and first responders are caught up, they will be curtailing the ones we get until the larger populations are caught back up,” Shepherd said. “We are asking for 200 for next week but they’re going to basing it on population and on if there are other areas with tier 1A not completed, yet.”

Statewide, Kentucky has received 204,450 doses and administered 66,582 of those.

“We get the job done, we need the vaccine and we’re getting penalized because these other areas couldn’t get the job done,” Shepherd said. “We were promised this and we’re ready to give it out. Rural Kentucky got enough vaccines and they want us to wait on them. It’s a political move and puts us in a hard way.”

Shepherd said for the public to be patient and that Magoffin will get the vaccine to everyone who wants it. He noted that after the medical workers and people over 70 are inoculated, it will be a first-come, first-serve system, with the exclusion of school system employees, which the doses will have to come out of Magoffin’s total vaccines received, so will have to be planned around, as well.

He said the teachers will be scheduled after February 1.

“Everyone will get the vaccine that wants it, but we’ll have to wait,” Shepherd said.

Shepherd urged everyone wanting to receive the vaccine to call the health department (606-349-5152) to get on the waiting list, especially those over 70 years old or healthcare workers.

To date, 799 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Magoffin County (67 since last press day two weeks ago). No report was available regarding how many of those cases were active or recovered, however. Seven deaths have been reported in Magoffin to date, but that number is expected to be inaccurately low.

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