FRANKFORT, Ky. (FOX19) - Gov. Andy Beshear announced Thursday that all Kentuckians 40 and up will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine beginning Monday.
The news comes just days after Kentucky expanded its vaccine eligibility to those 50 and older.
Kentuckians 16 and up will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine by April 12, though Beshear has held out the possibility that deadline may be moved up.
“We are trying to thread the needle just right [to] make sure we don’t open up to everyone too quickly and frustrate folks and continue demand,” he said. “We are pretty close in the commonwealth to opening up to everybody.”
The rollout was already significantly expanded last week, when Kentucky added certain health conditions that may place people at elevated risk for severe COVID-19.
Included among the CDC-identified conditions are those with Type 1 diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and those who are overweight. The only condition the CDC places in this pool that Kentucky has removed is smoking.
Some 1,249,021 Kentuckians have gotten at least one vaccine dose so far. That’s more than 36 percent of the state’s adult population, according to Beshear.
“It is really exciting,” the governor said, adding that some appointments are beginning to open across the state.
Beshear noted he plans to re-up the mask mandate for another 30 days due to national scientific consensus on the importance of continued mask wearing until vaccines are widely available to everyone in May.
“Lets not quit early,” Beshear said. “It is so close, and let’s not stop protecting each other(...) Otherwise, we are not providing the same protections to those who are waiting to get the vaccine as we did to those who have gotten it.”
The governor assured Kentuckians will not be wearing masks forever and said he will lift the mandate when it is safe to do so. As before, he declined Thursday to issue a timeline.
No new COVID-19 cases were reported among long-term care residents Thursday for the first time in memory, according to Beshear.
“A year has been a long time, and I can’t remember the last day when our update was zero here. Just incredible,” he said.
Four new COVID-19 cases were reported among LTC staff members. Currently there are 57 active LTC resident cases and 88 active staff cases statewide.
“These numbers continue to tick down,” the governor continued, “proof that the vaccines are working. They are our ticket out of this.”
Kentucky recorded 726 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 Thursday, the lowest Thursday number in a month.
The state also recorded 19 new virus-related deaths and 88 additional deaths resulting from the state’s ongoing death audit.
Kentucky’s positivity rate is 2.92 percent.
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