Kentucky put 32% fewer coronavirus shots into arms in the last vaccine-reporting week, as supply continued to outstrip demand

State table, updated by Kentucky Health News, shows how vaccine supply has exceeded demand.

By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News

As delivery of coronavirus vaccines plummeted by almost a third in the past week, Gov. Andy Beshear continued to urge Kentuckians to get vaccinated so the state can get back to normal.

Beshear didn’t have a news briefing Tuesday, but issued a press release emphasizing vaccinations over virus cases, which remained on a plateau.

“As our case numbers seem to be plateauing, it’s more important than ever for us to make sure our vaccination numbers are rising consistently,” he said. “Let’s meet our 2.5 million vaccine Team Kentucky Vaccination Challenge so we can get back to more of the activities we enjoy and keep ourselves, our families and our communities safe.”

Beshear has said he will open all businesses and activities to full capacity once 2.5 million Kentuckians have received a dose of vaccine. According to his press release, at least 1,672,364 Kentuckians have done so, which means about 827,000 more need to get vaccinated to reach that goal.
But in the last Tuesday-to-Monday reporting week, only 84,968 Kentuckians got vaccinated, down from about 125,000 each of the two weeks before that, according to the state’s vaccine report. That’s a drop of about 32%.
The line for that week has an asterisk, which signifies that the state stopped administering the Johnson & Johnson vaccine on the advice of federal officials because one in a million people who got it had an unusual type of blood clot. The vaccine has only accounted for about 5% of the doses administered in Kentucky, but is in more demand because it requires only one dose.
At the current rate of vaccination, following Beshear’s plan, the state wouldn’t reopen until June 8, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports.
Beshear has asked vaccine sites to use at least 90% of their vaccine each week. Statewide, that goal hasn’t been met for more than a month. Vaccine weeks run Tuesday to Monday because the state gets its supplies on Tuesdays. The state used 58% of its supply in the vaccine week beginning March 30; 45% the week beginning April 6 and 54% the week beginning March 13.
Supply has clearly outstripped demand. Yesterday, Beshear said the state had about 400,000 doses available, and that was before the 150,000 doses that were expected to arrive today. Kentuckians can visit to find a vaccination site near where they live.
Polls have indicated that white, rural Republicans are less likely to get the vaccine, but another demographic factor appears to be in play. An NPR analysis of vaccinations of people 65 and older shows that Kentucky is lagging in the number of rural seniors getting shots; urban seniors’ vaccination rate is 6.4 percentage points more than that of rural seniors.
NPR graph, adapted by Kentucky Health News; for a larger version, click on it.
Daily numbers: Beshear reported 609 new cases on Tuesday, bringing the state’s seven-day rolling average down to 576, returning it to the levels seen around a week ago.
The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus is 3.44%, down .02% from Monday and about the same as it’s been for the last six days.
The state’s daily average of new cases over the last seven days dropped to 11.71 per 100,000 residents, a drop of .43 from Monday.  The New York Times ranks Kentucky’s rate 34th among the states.
Counties with double the statewide rate were Bracken, 68.8; Lewis, 46.3; Mason, 41; Bath, 38.9; Powell, 34.7; Harlan, 32.4; Morgan, 32.2; Wolfe, 29.9; Logan ,27.4; Robertson, 27.1; Bell, 23.6; and Henderson, 23.4.
The state added 13 more Covid-19 deaths to its list of fatalities, seven from regular health-department reports and six from the ongoing audits of death certificates. That brings the total to 6,360. Over the last two weeks, the regularly reported deaths have averaged 7.7 per day.
The regularly reported deaths were a Clay County man, 65; a Daviess County man, 77; a Meade County man, 82; a Pulaski County man, 88; two Rowan County women, 70, 82; and a Rowan County man, 83. The audit deaths were a Floyd County man, 83; a Hardin County woman, 65; a Jefferson County man, 73; a Larue County woman, 86; a Lewis County man, 85; and a McLean County woman, 83.
Kentucky hospitals reported 419 Covid-19 patients (up 17 from Monday); 121 in intensive care (no change); and 48 of them on a ventilator (up 5).
The Lake Cumberland hospital-readiness region continues to be the only one using at least 80% of its intensive-care beds, at 84%.
Counties with 10 or more new cases were Jefferson, 80; Fayette, 44; Warren, 29; Christian, 22; Hardin, 19; Kenton, 17; Harlan, 16; Boone and Pike, 15; Campbell, 13; Daviess and Madison, 12; Henderson, 11; and Scott, 10.
In long-term care, one more resident and four more staff members have tested positive for the virus, bringing the number of active cases to 46 residents and 84 staff.
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