Member Alert 12/28/20 COVID-19 Immunization: A Message from Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Steve Stack, M.D.

KMA is distributing this urgent letter from Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Steve Stack, M.D. regarding COVID-19 immunization. The copy has been provided below, and the full letter is available here.

“Thank you for your commitment to the people of Kentucky. Your compassion for your patients and our citizens during these trying times is testament to your dedication to the healing arts.

The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) includes healthcare personnel in phase 1a of COVID-19 vaccine deployment. There is ambiguity as to ‘high risk’ HCP vs. other HCP. In Kentucky, all HCPs working in clinical settings (i.e. places where patient care occurs), regardless of occupational role, are eligible for phase 1a immunization.

The new vaccines are modern medical miracles; they are also extremely limited in quantity, uncommonly difficult to handle, and in exceedingly high demand. Deployment of these vaccines is a complicated federal, state, and local public-private undertaking in which even the best intentions and planning will not avert uncertainties, frustrations, and missteps along the way – particularly at the start. Given the hope for recovery these vaccines offer, however, these are challenges we are grateful to confront.

In light of the above, I ask for your leadership in setting a positive example for the millions of Kentuckians who must wait to follow HCP in later phases as 2021 unfolds. This is very important as we ramp up vaccine administration sites, receive larger quantities of vaccine, and enlist an expanding array of partners to reach eligible persons in a manner aligned as closely as possible with the phasing plan.

Phase 1a HCP are a large population, but it is our concrete goal and hope that the vast majority of clinical-setting HCP will have been begun the immunization series before the end of January 2021. More information will be soon forthcoming. As this group is already at the very front of the line, I thank you for modeling patience and reassurance during the start-up time necessary for this complex task.”