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Louisville Health Officials See Benefits, Challenges In Coronavirus Vaccine

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Louisville’s public health expert in charge of mass vaccination planning said the arrival of COVID-19 vaccines and their distribution will present a new challenge in the city. The first of the vaccines should arrive in Kentucky this month.

Louisville hasn’t experienced this type of public health crisis before, according to Paul Kern. Kern compared the pandemic to the outbreak of H1N1 flu in 2009, which he said was a smaller challenge for public health.

 “Just the diversity of the vaccine distribution, the variety of the vaccines and all different kinds of requirements that each one of them has. But we have been using a lot of the principles...a lot of our planning in the past for some other events,” Kern said at a briefing on Tuesday.

The first allocation of the vaccine will go to area hospitals, as well as CVS and Walgreens to serve long-term care facilities.

The Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective.

Public health officials are encouraged by these reports.

The COVID-19 vaccines could provide some immunity after an initial dose, though both Pfizer and Moderna’s require a second booster shot, according to Dr. Sarah Hartlage with Louisville’s public health department.

Hartlage encouraged Louisville residents to get both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“There is some emerging data that the first shot does give some initial immunity, but the second shot is likely responsible for the longer term, longer lasting immunity,” Hartlage said.

On Monday, Gov. Andy Beshear said the federal government is set to deliver about 150,000 coronavirus vaccines to Kentucky from mid- to late December.

Amina Elahi is LPM's City Editor. Email Amina at aelahi@lpm.org.

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