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Western Kentucky Health Departments Begin To Administer Booster COVID-19 Vaccine Doses

An announcement released Aug. 9 of COVID-19 vaccination times at the Christian County Health Department.
Christian County Health Department
An announcement released Aug. 9 of COVID-19 vaccination times at the Christian County Health Department.

Some western Kentucky health departments are gearing up to administer a third extra dose of the COVID-19 vaccines following the Biden administration’s announcement that the general public would start receiving booster shots next month. Local health departments plan to start administering booster vaccines to those who are immunocompromised.

Dee Owen, a nurse with the extended COVID testing team at the Purchase District Health Department (PDHD), said the department will start administering third doses of the Moderna vaccine to immunocompromised individuals on Aug. 23 and to the general public on Sep. 20.

“Over time, the efficacy of the vaccine wanes,” Owen said. “They’re trying to stay ahead of these news variants, and they’re trying to make sure that the level of protection is built up prior to exposure so that you won’t either get it at all, or if you get it, you’ll get a very mild case because you’ll have enough antibodies built up in your system to fight it.”

The PDHD previously administered the first two doses through weekly clinics at the Julian Carroll Convention Center, but will hold a drive-up clinic to give third doses.

“We had several phone calls and people driving up asking for it since it was approved,” Owen said. “We’ve already got a list of people who are planning to show up.”

Amanda Sweeney, marketing and public relations director with the Christian County Health Department (CCHD), said the third dose of Moderna or Pfizer vaccines is not the same as an annual booster shot, which the Biden administration may recommend 8 months after the standard vaccine.

The CCHD will offer the third dose of the Moderna vaccine to immunocompromised individuals on Aug. 24. Sweeney said she can not yet confirm when the general public can receive the third dose, but will provide an update when possible.

As a regional site, the CCHD received a larger quantity of initial vaccine doses, which were previously distributed at the James E. Bruce Convention Center in Hopkinsville. The third dose will be administered at the health department.

“With the Delta variant, everybody is, I think, more conscientious of COVID now, so they’re coming in to get vaccinated,” Sweeney said. “It’s running really smoothly so far, and we anticipate things to continue to run smoothly. And if things pick up to where we need a larger location, we may look at alternate locations other than the health department.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states individuals who have had a second dose of Moderna or Pfizer must wait at least four weeks before receiving their third.

Immunocompromised individuals include those with HIV/AIDS, cancer and transplant patients taking certain immunosuppressive drugs and those with inherited immune system diseases.

Dustin Wilcox is a television production student at Murray State University. He graduated from Hopkinsville High School in 2019.
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