Kentucky health officials concerned over ‘supply and demand’ issues around COVID-19 vaccine

Coronavirus Watch Kentucky

OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) – The president’s vaccination plan comes as Kentucky health officials say there have been supply and demand issues since shots started being given last month.

More than 232,000 vaccine doses have been used across the state. But some health officials say they’ll need more sent out to cover all those wanting one now.

“We currently have about 1,100 individuals who are on a waiting list who have qualified for that Phase 1B vaccination,” said Cece Robinson of Ohio County Healthcare. She also says they don’t have enough vaccines yet to cover everyone on that 1,100 person long waiting list. More vaccines are expected as soon as next month.

“I think anytime you have a new process, that you’re going to encounter some difficulties. I liken the distribution of vaccinations to when testing first began. And so, supply and demand is an issue,” Robinson says.

Ohio County Healthcare is one of several area health agencies changing vaccination plans because of supply. Deaconess halted first dose vaccinations for their Henderson and Union County locations. Owensboro Health put a hold on scheduling appointments until the state increases the number of doses.

“I get calls and emails every day from pharmacist and federally qualified health centers, private offices, providers, everybody’s chomping at the bit to to administer vaccines,” said Clay Horton of the Green River District Health Department during a webinar with the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce. He says he expects demand to be higher than supply in the coming months. The district is now in Phase 1B. More vaccines could mean more opportunities for those eligible in later phases.

“It’s expected at the end of this month that Johnson and Johnson will have clinical trial data to release on their vaccine. And we’re having another option in the marketplace is going to create more opportunities, create more supply and take a lot of this pressure off,” Horton explained.

Horton also mentioned the Defense Production Act, which is designed to speed up vaccine production and testing that could also increase vaccine supply in Kentucky as well as around the country.

(This story was originally published on January 21, 2021)

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