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Beshear Urges More Vaccinations As New COVID Cases Hit Younger People

Gov. Andy Beshear speaks at opening of Cardinal Stadium mass vaccination site
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Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear urged people to use the more than 400,000 COVID-19 vaccination appointments available as the trend of new infections skewed toward younger people. Beshear reported a dramatic difference in vaccination rates among age groups. People between ages 20 to 49 make up the majority of new COVID-19 cases, but have much lower vaccination rates than those 50 and older. 

“We see 38% or less of individuals in that age group currently vaccinated,” Beshear said of the younger people. “So we need to pick it up for our younger Kentuckians, if we want to lessen the number of cases and ultimately defeat this virus.”

Beshear said the low number of vaccinations could lead to a fourth wave of infections. 

People over 70 and those in long-term care facilities used to make up the majority of cases. But 74% of people over age 70 are now vaccinated.

Recent polling shows Republican men are the least likely group to opt for a vaccine. 

“It's unfortunate because our political parties are just constructs, right?” Beshear said. “And this virus doesn't care whether you decide to put a D or an R behind your name, it'll kill you just the same.”

An Ohio Valley ReSource analysis recently found 58 counties in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia have fewer than 20% of residents fully vaccinated.

More than 1.6 million people in the state have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccination. Once 2.5 million people in the state are vaccinated, Beshear says he will lift some capacity restrictions on businesses. 

Beshear reported 231 new cases and 9 additional deaths on Monday. That brings Kentucky’s death total to more than 6,300 people. The state’s rate of positivity is 3.46%.

Jeff Young is managing editor of the Ohio Valley ReSource, a journalism collaboration led by Louisville Public Media.