With COVID-19 vaccinations scheduled out until March, Dr. Michael Kelley, vice president of medical affairs, said Owensboro Health is putting a pause on scheduling to better align appointments with the amount of doses being received from the state.

Between now and March, Kelley said there are currently more than 8,000 vaccination appointments.

Based on how many doses OH expects to receive, he said there will be enough to cover those vaccinations.

Once those vaccinations are administered, Kelley said OH plans to open up appointment slots to the public based on how many vaccine doses it has available.

“We’d rather do that than to let the schedule fill up and be booking out into April,” he said. “We are not getting that many vaccines. We can only do what we’re going to get.”

OH is currently receiving weekly shipments of approximately 1,900 vaccine doses. He said this will decrease to around 975 starting the first week of February and the health care system has to account for that and ensure it is not overbooking vaccination slots.

“Rather than just continuing to fill the schedule for months and months, we really just hit the pause button on the schedule. We could do more, but we don’t have enough vaccines from the state to do more, and if we get more, we will open more slots,” he said.

Additionally, OH has begun administering booster shots with second dose appointments scheduled throughout the week.

Kelley said OH plans to receive booster rounds each week as well as additional first round doses.

Thus far, Kelley said OH has administered more than 7,000 COVID-19 vaccinations and has around 1,500 more scheduled throughout this week.

Kelley said tier 1B vaccinations are still the priority. Individuals in tier 1B include first responders and those ages 70 plus. While OH will likely take part in vaccinating tier 1C when the time comes, he said there is still a large demand for vaccinating 1B individuals.

“We are still seeing a demand from the 1B filling the schedule right now,” he said. “I do think that there will be a role for the hospital and health system in vaccinating that 1C group, but I don’t have a set date yet.”

Christie Netherton, cnetherton@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7360

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