Gov. Andy Beshear has signed an executive order to allow all Kentucky adults to get a Covid-19 booster shot, citing the recent upticks in coronavirus cases and Covid-19 hospitalizations as the reason for this change.
“Folks, you really need to get vaccinated and get this booster, and now it should be fairly easy. It’s going to make you much safer over the next several months,” Beshear said in a news release.
Previously, boosters were officially available only to people 65 and older, adults at high risk of severe Covid-19, and those with high exposure to the virus through their jobs or living situation.
At least five other states (Arkansas, California, Colorado, New Mexico and West Virginia) have expanded eligibility, the release says. So has New York City. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 booster shots for all adults this week, The New York Times reports.
Under Beshear’s order, all adults in Kentucky may get a Covid-19 booster six months after their second Moderna or Pfizer shot, or two months after the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
As of Wednesday, more than 437,000 Kentuckians had received a booster and 2.6 million, or 59% of the total population, had received at least one shot.
The state reported 2,195 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, raising the seven-day average by 31 (2.2 percent), to 1,431. Of Wednesday’s new cases, 29% are in people 18 and younger.
The share of Kentuckians testing positive for the virus jumped more than half a percentage point, to 6.24% from 5.73% on Tuesday. The rate is the highest since Oct. 21. Beshear has cautioned that the rate is not the best measurement of the pandemic because it tends to rise when there is an increase in disease in communities because more people get tested.
A more reliable metric, the seven-day infection rate, is 27.94 daily cases per 100,000 residents. That’s a noticeable jump from Tuesday’s 27.08. Counties with rates more than double that rate are Magoffin, 98.7; Breckinridge, 82.3; Robertson, 81.3; Bourbon, 72.2; Monroe, 61.7; Powell, 61.3; and Harrison, 58.2.
Seventy-three of the state’s 120 counties have rates over 25, considered a high level of transmission and represented by red on the state infection map. That’s six more than Tuesday.
Kentucky reported 36 more Covid-19 deaths Wednesday, raising the pandemic death toll to 10,354.
By Melissa Patrick
Kentucky Health News