Baptist Health has reached a major milestone – administering more than 100,000 doses (and counting) to patients in Kentucky and Southern Indiana. Baptist Health Hardin is responsible for vaccinating more than 5,500 Kentuckians since Dec. 23, 2020.
“A tremendous amount of teamwork has gone into our efforts to give vaccines to healthcare workers, first responders, childcare workers and those age 70 and older, protecting the most vulnerable and those who care for them,” said Baptist Health system CEO Gerard Colman. “Our hospitals were among the first to administer the vaccine, and we’re committed to continue to do so. We plan to vaccinate thousands more as we move through the rollout phases outlined by Kentucky and Indiana.”
Baptist Health hospitals hit the 100,000 mark in just 71 days – administering their first shots on Dec. 14, 2020, and reaching the milestone on Feb. 23. Of the 100,826 doses given, 64,730 were first doses and 36,096 were second doses.
“Administering the vaccine has been a logistical challenge, but Baptist Health Hardin has worked tirelessly to vaccinate more than 5,500 healthcare professionals and Kentuckians 70 years and over in the last two months,” said Baptist Health Hardin Assistant Vice President of Operations Steve White. “We have secured ultra-cold freezers to meet vaccine storage requirements, established scheduling mechanisms, and set up a new COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Towne Mall to better serve our region.”
Baptist Health Hardin is currently administering as many as 500 vaccines a day at its COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic located at Towne Mall. Baptist Health Hardin is administering both the Moderna and the Pfizer vaccines as allotted by the state.
Baptist Health Medical Group Chief Medical Officer Matthew Stiles, M.D. added that the community’s response to the vaccination has been encouraging.
“The excitement that we have witnessed when scheduling and vaccinating patients has been amazing,” Dr. Stiles said. “We have seen tears of joy, high fives, and sighs of relief. We know that this vaccine is a breath of fresh air for so many in our community. But the work is not done.”
Dr. Stiles continued that we still have a responsibility to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“The vaccine is a great first step to protecting yourself and others from COVID-19,” Dr. Stiles said. “However, those who have been vaccinated are encouraged to continue to practice prevention measures including wearing a mask, washing hands frequently, keeping your distance from those who don’t live with you and staying home when you’re sick.”
Baptist Health Hardin is administering vaccines as quickly as possible, but getting to everyone who wants one will take time. Currently, the demand greatly exceeds supply. Due to the number of people in our region aged 70-plus who still need to get their first dose, combined with the vulnerability of that age group, Baptist Health Hardin is continuing to focus vaccinations on eligible persons in Phases 1A and 1B, which consist of healthcare workers and Kentuckians aged 70 and older. Baptist Health Hardin and Lincoln Trail District Health Department continue to evaluate the status of vaccinations provided to Kentuckians in Phase 1B and will determine the most appropriate time to enter Phase 1C. When we do enter Phase 1C in the future, we will prioritize persons aged 60 and older who face a higher COVID-19 mortality risk.
Because the state’s allocation of vaccines to Baptist Health Hardin has become much more predictable, COVID-19 vaccination scheduling will be opened more frequently. Effective immediately, when vaccine appointments are available, Baptist Health Hardin’s COVID-19 vaccination scheduling line (270-706-1004) will be open from 9am-4pm, each Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The phones will remain open during those times until all of our available appointments for the coming week(s) have been scheduled. Once fully booked, callers will receive a message that all appointments offered that day have been scheduled.
Please watch the Baptist Health Hardin Facebook page and hmh.net for announcements about all things COVID-19 related. For more information, go to hmh.net/covid-19-vaccine. To find out what phase of the Kentucky vaccination campaign that you fall into, go to Vaccine.ky.gov.