Health care workers in the Jackson Purchase Region are currently finishing up getting vaccinated for COVID-19 — Purchase District Health Department Director Kent Koster said all first responders and health care workers should be vaccinated within the next week or two.
Once health care workers and first responders are vaccinated education employees and people 70 and older will be the next priority. It's unclear though how that group will be vaccinated locally.
"To my knowledge there is not a plan," said Paducah Mayor George Bray.
Bray said he and McCracken County Judge-Executive Craig Clymer have been told state agencies are heading up organizing a local mass vaccine distribution plan. Clymer said the Kentucky Emergency Management Area One office is currently looking for potential locations where the vaccine can be administered to the mass public.
"I think there is a lot of people working on it, I think there is a lot of discussion going on about having one location," Bray said.
The Department of Public Health will also play a role in forming the local vaccine distribution plan. Clymer said it's concerning for him as a local leader to not be informed about how this plan is being developed.
"It is frustrating and we are getting calls from people, when I can get my vaccination, and I can't tell them when and I can't tell them how to find out," Clymer said.
While Clymer and Bray are not in charge of planning this, they are talking about it daily and are coming up with potential locations where the vaccine can be administered.
"There's all kinds of considerations. I think it needs to be a location where people can certainly find easily, maybe they're familiar with even," Clymer said.
Some of the locations Bray and Clymer plan on recommending to the state include Carson Park, The Knights of Columbus location on U.S. 45 in Lone Oak, and the old Kmart parking lot.
"I don't want to put people in fear that you know this is going to fall to the wayside, and they're not going to get their vaccines, and that we're having tremendous problems. It's just a matter of it being a slow rollout," Clymer said.
Bray said he's confident a plan will come together and assures everyone will get vaccinated. It just might take some time.
"We may have to end up having to drive farther than what we planned but we all will get vaccinated," Bray said. "Everything depends on it. The economy depends on it. We've got to get people vaccinated. ...”