COVINGTON, Ky. — For the last year, Bishop Darin Miller's Word of Life Christian Fellowship has been held to the state's coronavirus restrictions. But with the commonwealth leading the way in Tri-State vaccinations, Miller said he's looking toward the light at the end of the tunnel.
"I think if we can get the clergy to get their vaccinations, that's going to help us lead by example with our congregation," said Miller, who is at high risk himself of becoming seriously ill should he contract COVID-19.
"Being a diabetic, suffering from high blood pressure, it's important for me because I want to be around," he said.
Clergy are among a wide range of "essential workers" who will become eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Kentucky on March 1. The state's vaccine website lists the following industries as 1C-eligible:
- Corrections officers
- U.S. Postal Service workers
- Grocery store workers
- Food and agriculture
- Public transit workers
- Transportation and logistics
- Food service, shelter and housing (construction)
- IT and communication
- Public safety (engineers)
- Water and wastewater
Frontline healthcare workers, first responders and school staff workers had already been eligible for vaccination.
The category also includes people with increased health risks, as designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Chronic kidney disease
- Down syndrome
- Heart conditions, such as heart failure, coronary artery disease or cardiomyopathies
- Immunocompromised state from solid organ transplant
- Obesity and severe obesity
- Sickle cell disease
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Phase 1C also allows people 60 years and older to sign up for vaccination.
Dan Hassert, communications director for the city of Covington, said this will be a critical step toward ensuring the administration can continue to provide basic public services with public works employees becoming eligible for vaccination.
"One, we're worried about their health and safety, but, two, we have to provide services and critical services," he said.
Gov. Andy Beshear announced Monday phase 1C would begin March 1, but asked residents who become eligible that day to be patient, as this next phase stands to add more than a million eligible people.
"Moving to 1C is gonna be exciting for a lot of people, but understand there's a lot of people in 1C. That means it may be challenging to get signed up in the beginning, but remember a lot of vaccine is on its way," he said.
Beshear said the new rollouts will happen for regional vaccine centers across Kentucky, including the Kroger-run hub at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center on Madison Avenue in Covington. This also includes some vaccine centers run by St. Elizabeth Healthcare.