Sen. Mitch McConnell visited Baptist Health in Madisonville

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MADISONVILLE, Ky (WEHT) Sen. Mitch McConnell was back in western Kentucky today. He visited Baptist Health in Madisonville. McConnell was in Owensboro last week.

The senator got a look at vaccination efforts underway at Baptist Health Madisonville.

The first vaccinations in Hopkins County, and one of the first in Kentucky, went to these health care workers.

“These shots were like a glimmer of hope for a new normal for us and getting us back to normal,” says Margo Ashby, Director of Pharmacy Services.

Four months later, Baptist Health officials say more than 20,000 vaccinations happened in Hopkins County, and a total of 200,000 happened across their system.

“When you add that with the work that the health department has done, and you add the local pharmacies, we are making a major impact and really pushing back on this pandemic,” said Robert Ramey, President of Baptist Health Madisonville.

“I think we’re in the red zone, but we’re not yet in the end zone,” Sen. McConnell said. To reach the end zone, he said it will take 75% of the population to get vaccinated. Sen. McConnell also said having three vaccines a year after the pandemic started was a modern medical miracle. Denise Beach of the Hopkins County Health Department says that requires getting more young people to get their doses.

“What we want to see is young people using science and making decisions to get vaccinated, helping us to get to that 70 to 75% mark, so that we can get our economy back, so that we can get our community back,” she said.

Beach also says the U.K. variant’s detection in the county concerns her as they try to reach that 75% goal

“The longer the variants are in the community, the more likely that they could keep replicating and the vaccine not being as effective,” says Beach.

Ramey says they can still do hundreds of shots a day at Baptist Health. Senator McConnell encouraged people to sign up for their vaccine as soon as they can.

(This story was originally published on April 7, 2021)

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