Gov. Andy Beshear gave a pandemic pep talk for Kentucky’s students Tuesday, saying their willingness to take the COVID-19 vaccine empowers them to help “overcome a challenge that we adults can’t do on our own.”
The governor visited a “pop-up” vaccination clinic at a Lexington high school to promote expanded youth inoculations, calling them “the key to having a fully normal school year in the fall.”
Chatting with a group of students awaiting their vaccinations at Lafayette High School, Beshear asked if they were nervous. Offering reassurance, he told them: “It’s just a shot, right?”
The governor praised the state’s youth for their sacrifices, enduring the loss of their normal lives during the pandemic. He urged them to do their part again by rolling up their sleeves for the shots.
“How often do we as a society, as a commonwealth, come to our young people and say, ‘We need you?’” Beshear said. “We need your help to win something. We need your help to protect people. We need your help to overcome a challenge that we adults can’t do on our own.”
The governor reported Monday that more than 6,300 Kentucky youngsters age 12 to 15 had received a dose of COVID-19 vaccine since becoming eligible for the shots. Beshear called that “a good start” and said efforts are ramping up to vaccinate that age group. The state’s coronavirus incidence rate Monday was highest among youngsters and adults age 20 to 49.
Beshear stressed the vaccine’s effectiveness in a message Tuesday aimed at students and parents.
“By the grace of God, and it is the grace of God, these vaccines have proven more effective than we ever could have imagined,” the Democratic governor said.
Beshear said his own son will take his turn getting vaccinated once he turns 12.
“I’m personally going to take him to get this vaccine because I believe it is that safe and that effective,” the governor said. “I wouldn’t ask any of our young people here today to take it if I wasn’t willing to give the same advice to my own children.”
More than 1.9 million Kentuckians have gotten at least one shot of the vaccine, but vaccination rates have lagged among younger adults. Roughly 80% of Kentuckians 65 and older have gotten the vaccine, but the percentage drops off to 29% of Kentuckians age 18 to 29 having received the shots.
The state reported 645 new coronavirus cases and 11 more virus-related deaths Tuesday. Kentucky’s overall death toll from the virus reached at least 6,673. The statewide rate of positive cases was 2.79%.