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Lack Of Doses Hampering Kentucky's COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout

Karyn Czar

COVID-19 vaccine shipments are not keeping pace with Kentucky's ability to administer them, according to state officials. The governor is asking the federal government to double the amount it's sending to the commonwealth.

Gov. Andy Beshear says Kentucky can handle a lot more vaccine that it's currently receiving. The state's top health official, Dr. Steven Stack, estimates Kentucky could vaccinate up to 250,000 people a week with its current system, but only 54,000 doses are flowing into the state each week.

"Places that want to vaccinate don't know if they'll be able to get vaccine, if they'll get it, how much they'll get it, and if they'll get it regularly," the public health commissioner said. "So this is a market dysfunction."

The governor says he will be exploring all ways the state could boost its supplies, including buying directly from manufacturers.

In the meantime, Beshear is vetoing a handful of bills passed early in the 2021 General Assembly aimed at giving lawmakers more say in statewide emergency orders. The governor said the legislation, which would prevent the closure of businesses following CDC guidelines and require General Assembly approval of emergency orders every 30 days, would put the state at a disadvantage in fighting the virus.

"What would be restricted here are the tools that have helped us stop exponential increase that have devastated other states," the Democrat said.

Republicans argue the bills are necessary to rein in a governor who has overstepped his authority. 

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.
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