FRANKFORT, Ky. — All adults living or working in Kentucky are eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccination booster, Gov. Andy Beshear announced.
Beshear signed an executive order Wednesday qualifying anyone 18 or older to get a booster six months after their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, or two months after the Johnson & Johnson shot.
Based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, booster shots have been limited to Kentuckians who are over 65, have underlying conditions or work in high-risk settings.
Both Moderna and Pfizer have asked the Food and Drug Administration to authorize boosters for all adults based on data from clinical trials, and ABC News reported the FDA may issue guidance as soon as Thursday. Leaders from at least 12 other states — including California, Minnesota and West Virginia — have similarly moved to expand booster shots.
Beshear said a spike in cases in Europe have him concerned about Kentucky's case numbers without boosters and increased vaccinations. Kentucky has seen a decline in case numbers, but the state reported Nov. 15 cases were plateauing.
"We are moving into the amazing holiday season with Thanksgiving, Christmas and other gatherings, which unfortunately are especially risky for COVID-19 being able to spread," Beshear said. "Because of that, it’s more important than ever that we get people vaccinated and get people their boosters to push their immunity up to the highest levels, because over time that immunity wanes."
With more accessibility, Northern Kentucky Health Department is preparing for more people to get their boosters. Before the executive order, the department said about 8% of their population has received a third dose.
"The demand is there, but it's not at this point overwhelming, such as when the vaccine was first on the market," said Steve Divine with the Northern Kentucky Health Department.
Divine said they are in the process of getting more orders in as people like Amy Yosmali get their shot ahead of the holidays.
"Actually, when I got my second shot, I put it in my calendar when I should get my shot," Yosmali said after getting her booster. "I do believe it's important for our community to make sure that we maintain and keep up with our vaccinations that's deemed appropriate for our health needs."
Yosmali said she is also making sure her children are vaccinated so they can celebrate the holidays with family safely.
"I definitely will make sure as soon as they're ready for their second, they'll get their second — and if there's a booster, I'll make sure they do it as well," Yosmali said. "I have to make sure to stay on top of the regimen just for their health, my health and everyone else that I love."