First COVID-19 vaccines arrive at Baptist Health Madisonville

Coronavirus Watch Kentucky

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (WEHT) – The first round of vaccines are in western Kentucky.

Baptist Health Madisonville got their shipment of 975 vaccines early this morning.

They arrived early Tuesday morning at Baptist Health Madisonville in a box, and placed into a freezer at -70 degrees Celsius. It’s one shipment, but it carries a lot of potential for some residents.

“Let’s get it. I’ll stick my arm out right now. I’m ready to go,” said Scott Stephens of Dawson Springs.

Baptist Health Madisonville was one of 11 hospitals chosen for parts of the first shipment, and one of five Baptist Health facilities in Kentucky and Indiana. Hospital President Robert Ramey said they’re excited to be one of the first locations in the commonwealth to get the opportunity to vaccinate health care workers, who will be the first to be vaccinated.

“I’m ready to get mine,” said J.R. Wedding, whose wife is a nurse at a health care facility in Madisonville. He’s looking forward to when both can get vaccinated.

“It’s been a nightmare because you’ve got to put on all kinds of special suits and everything to see what the patient needs,” he said, describing what his wife’s gone through caring for patients since the pandemic started.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear says while more vaccines are expected, he asks Kentuckians to be patient as more doses become available in the coming months. Hopkins County Judge Executive Jack Whitfield expects the county to get another 900 doses for long term care facilities. He adds the start of vaccinations can be the start of a return to normal.

“If we can keep this down a little longer until we can get a decent portion of the population vaccinated, then we can start to open back up,” he said.

As for future shipments of the vaccine, Governor Beshear says he hopes the Moderna version starts getting shipped out to the Commonwealth as soon as next week, but he’s not sure exactly when. He adds he’s also unsure when the second and third shipment of the Pfizer vaccine will be sent to the Commonwealth.

Photos courtesy of Baptist Health Madisonville

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(This story was originally published on December 15, 2020) 

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