FRANKFORT, KY — Gov. Andy Beshear said Kentucky's regional COVID-19 vaccination sites will begin administering doses to people in phase 1C starting March 1. 

Making that announcement during a briefing on COVID-19 in Kentucky on Monday, Beshear said local health departments will also begin vaccinating individuals in phase 1C of the state's plan. In a news release sent just before 5 p.m., Beshear said all vaccine sites are to continue prioritizing people in phases 1A and 1B. 

Kentucky's COVID-19 vaccine phases

Phase Eligibility
1A Residents and staff in long-term care and assisted living facilities and health care personnel
1B First responders, anyone age 70 or older, K-12 school employees, child care workers
1C Anyone age 60 or older, anyone age 16 or older with a medical condition placing them at highest risk from the illness as per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and all other essential workers
2 Anyone age 40 or older
3 Anyone age 16 or older
4 Children under the age of 16, if the vaccine is approved for this age group.

Beshear cautioned that, because so many people are in phase 1C, it will likely be difficult for those people to get vaccine appointments at first, but wait times should improve as vaccine allocation increases. 

"If there are between 1 and 1.3 million people potentially in in 1C, and we're getting, oh, 10-15,000 doses a week right now, you can do the math on that — it may take 10 or 11 weeks. But, we're going to get more vaccine than we are right now, like when Johnson and Johnson is approved and when moderna and phizer continue to increase their increase in production."

Beshear said the state is asking providers to prioritize vaccines based on age — prioritizing people ages 60 and up. The governor said that will be the case at regional sites, health departments and pharmacies.

To date, Beshear said 562,775 doses have been allocated to the state so far, and 583,754 unique people vaccinated so far. Beshear explained that more people have been vaccinated than doses received because providers are actually able to get two doses out of most vials of the Pfizer vaccine. 

Winter weather delayed shipments of about 66,000 vaccine doses to Kentucky last week. That delay means the state ended up using nearly all of the remaining doses leftover from previous weeks, Beshear said. The state has used nearly 98.5% of all the first doses it had. 

But, those delayed doses will be coming to Kentucky this week, in addition to the doses that were previously allocated to the state by the federal government for this week. Beshear said the large influx of doses coming in on such short notice will be a good test of Kentucky's vaccination system. "This is an early test about our ability to scale up and reach out into wait lists to get people in and do it efficiently and effectively," Beshear said.

Giving an update on COVID-19 in the state, Beshear reported 530 new cases Monday, which he said is the lowest one-day total the state has had since Oct. 5. The governor said the states positivity rate for COVID-19 test results is 6.6% on Monday, and 13 additional coronavirus-related deaths were reported. Currently, 870 Kentuckians are hospitalized with the illness, including 243 in intensive care units at 119 on ventilators. 

Beshear said Kentucky's cases continue to trend in the right direction, seeing the sixth straight week with declining case numbers last week. 

“Testing was certainly down last week. It could have impacted cases. We’re just going to have to see as we go, but the fact that our positivity rate, even after last week, is still down is a real positive sign. We would have expected to see some more changes in that if the only thing going on was testing but we will be watching it throughout this week," Beshear said.

To date, Kentucky has had 397,526 COVID-19 cases, including 4,460 deaths. 

This image shows which jobs are categorized as essential, and which conditions are considered to be high risk:

01.4 Phase Slides