Knox County began vaccinating a portion of the general population on Friday with individuals age 70 and older. Knox County Health Department announced on Thursday, January 7 it would be hosting a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Farmer’s Market Pavilion on Friday, January 8. In the early hours of the day, vehicles were backed up to U.S. Hwy. 25E with people waiting to get their vaccination.

According to Knox County Judge-Executive Mike Mitchell, efforts to get the vaccine rolled out to Knox Countians is going well, but he expressed concerns that rural counties were being negatively affected by the slow pace of vaccinations in the state’s two largest counties.

“Everybody across Kentucky is at the same phase, and Knox County as well as some of the surrounding counties has already taken care of their healthcare workers and first responders, and could have started earlier this week, but we couldn’t get anymore vaccines because the state isn’t releasing them,” said Mitchell. “There’s two counties that’s holding up the whole state, that’s Jefferson County and Fayette County. They’ve not got all their phase one done and they’re punishing 118 counties throughout the state because those two counties are lagging behind.

“We’re not a Jefferson County, we’re not a Fayette County, but we’ve got people sick here every day and people dying here, and they need to go ahead and release the second phase release (of the vaccine). They’re going to be getting more vaccines out, but they need to do it where we can vaccinate people everyday.”

Mitchell says the State Health Department controls the rollout, but Governor Beshear could prompt them by executive order to move ahead with it. According to an updated plan released by the Governor earlier this week, the rollout is broken down into subphases. Those phases can be found in a graphic attached to this story.

Mitchell issued a statement via Facebook earlier Friday:

We would like to thank Knox County Health Department, Knox County Ambulance Service, Knox County Sheriffs Office, Barbourville City Police Department, City of Barbourville, Knox County Fiscal Court, Knox County Extension Office and all the volunteers for coming together and working to provide these vaccines to the citizens of Knox County. All of these agencies have worked to provide services, or support to make sure that as soon as vaccines are available we get them to Knox County residents.
-Mike Mitchell, Knox County Judge Executive

It was also announced Friday that Barbourville ARH Hospital is now offering COVID-19 vaccinations to people 70 and older by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, call 606-545-5549.

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Charles is a native of Barbourville, Kentucky. He has worked with The Mountain Advocate in various capacities since 2003.

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