PADUCAH — It's going to take some time before local health departments are able to offer COVID-19 booster shots to everyone 18 and older. The Purchase District Health Department says it has to wait for state guidelines.
At the national level, Moderna and Pfizer have asked the Food and Drug Administration for authorization to provide booster doses to all adults, regardless of whether they belong to any of the categories approved by the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Wednesday that anyone 18 and older who lives or works in Kentucky will be able to get a COVID-19 booster shot.
However, that change is going to take some time to trickle down to the local level.
The Purchase District Health Department has the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. The health department's McCracken County location is also a COVID-19 testing site. With almost weekly changes from the CDC and approval of Pfizer's vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, the Purchase District Health Department has stayed busy.
COVID-19 vaccines, boosters and test are all given behind the Purchase District Health Department's McCracken County office via its drive-thru clinic. From child vaccines to booster shots, it's a long line most of the time. There will likely be more changes by the end of the week, because the CDC is expected to approve the Pfizer's request to expand booster eligibility to everyone 18 and older.
As a health department, PDHD has to wait for protocols from the state. Then, the local medical director has to sign off. Finally, PDHD has to review the protocol with its staff. Public Health Director Kent Koster said PDHD is wearing a lot of different hats right now.
"So that takes a few days longer than, say, a pharmacy who receives a vaccine that doesn't have to operate under those same protocols," said Koster.
Unlike health departments, local pharmacies, like Davis Drugs, don't have to wait for state guidelines to administer COVID-19 vaccines. Davis Drugs follows CDC guidelines whenever they're issued. The pharmacy offers Moderna and J&J vaccines.
Because there aren't new guidelines for those vaccines, Marshall Davis with Davis Drugs said the pharmacy has found its groove for giving COVID-19 vaccines.
"We're moving pretty smooth. We've got a pretty good routine in our vaccination clinics," said Davis.
The Purchase District Health Department asks folks in its five-county region to be patient with their county offices when scheduling appointments.