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Want a vaccine for COVID-19? Get on list now

Sign up now to get on list for COVID shot


Essential workers and other Letcher Countians who want to get the COVID-19 vaccine should call the local health department and sign up now.

Residents can call 633-2945 and asked to be put on a list for the vaccine or visit the Letcher County Health Department on Facebook and complete a vaccine questionnaire that was posted online January 8. The Kentucky River District Health Department has links to all eight-county health department questionnaires on its Facebook page.

The Letcher County Health Department is giving the vaccine to first responders this week, and is expected to move to the next tier soon. The vaccine will be given in the following order:

• Phase 1 A: Long-term care facilities, healthcare workers, assisted living facilities. Vaccines are being given in long-term care and assisted living facilities by Walgreens and CVS, and will not affect the public schedule. As of last week, only 22 percent of long-term care had been completed, but the other people in that tier are nearing completion.

• Phase 1 B: First responders, anyone 70 years of age or older, and kindergarten through 12-grade school personnel. First responders are being vaccinated now, and those 70 and older be vaccinated at any time.

• Phase 1 C: Anyone 60 years of age or older, anyone 16 years of age or older who is in the high risk category (those with Down Syndrome, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and other ailments specified by the Centers for Disease Control), all essential workers that were not already vaccinated in an earlier phase.

• Phase 2: Anyone 40 years of age or older

• Phase 3: Anyone 16 years of age or older

• Phase 4: Children under the age of 16 if the vaccine is approved for that age group. So far, it has not been recommended for children under 16.

Just because a person is not in the phase currently being vaccinated doesn’t necessarily mean they have to wait. The state is receiving a steady supply of about 55,000 doses per week, and the state Department of Public Health is recommending vaccine sites use at least 90 percent of their vaccine within seven days of receiving it. That means if people don’t show up for their appointments and a center has vaccine left, its staff will call people from the next group in to be vaccinated early.

Officials are also cautioning that just because someone receives one dose of vaccine doesn’t mean they are immune from COVID-19. Both vaccines currently being used require two doses three to four weeks apart, and a short waiting period before a person is fully protected. Gov. Andy Beshear said on Tuesday that he has not been updated by the federal government on the most recent allocations of vaccine to the state. He said the government is no longer going to be holding back vaccine for a second dose, so the state may face a challenge in getting those boosters to people in a timely manner.

Meanwhile, all eight counties in the Kentucky River Health District are in the critical category for disease spread.

The health department is recommending that people reduce contacts with others, order take-out instead of eating in restaurants, reduce shopping trips and order online, work from home whenever possible, wear masks, avoid large crowds and wash their hands often.

State figures, which have recently proved not as accurate as in past months, show Letcher County has had a total of 1,289 cases, up from 1,148 last week, however the figures still show only four deaths in the county. District Health Director Scott Lockard acknowledged last week that the number of deaths is in “double digits,” but said the resignation of an epidemiologist has caused a reporting problem.

Thirty new cases were reported in the county on Monday, and another 22 on Tuesday.

Totals for Letcher and the surrounding counties as reported on the state of Kentucky’s web site were as follows: Knott – Total 813 (14 dead, incident rate 37.6); Lee – Total 1,084 (18 dead, incident rate 32.8); Leslie – Total 589 (1 dead, incident rate 95.5); Letcher – Total 1,289 (4 dead, incident rate 92.8); Owsley – Total 348 (10 dead, incident rate 68.0); Perry – Total 1,759 (17 dead, incident rate 62.1); Wolfe – Total 347 (4 dead, incident rate 59.9); Harlan – Total 1,879 (26 dead, incident rate 101.1); Pike – Total 3,580 (38 dead, incident rate 79.0); Wise Co., Va. – Total 2,406 (125 hospitalized, 67 dead); Norton, Va.– Total 209 (12 hospitalized, 2 dead).

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