Governor Andy Beshear and First Lady Britainy Beshear received their COVID-19 booster shots during his Thursday afternoon news conference. Monday, he called for eligible vaccinated Kentuckians to get their follow-up inoculation.
The governor expressed excitement about the FDA and CDC’s recent approval of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11. Beshear said healthcare providers would administer his 11-year-old daughter her first dose on November 8.
Kentucky Department for Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack insisted the vaccine is safe for children and urged parents to get their children vaccinated. He said that while there will be more than enough supply, it may take up to three weeks to get an appointment because he expects high demand.
Beshear did not have Thursday’s COVID-19 case statistics but commented on the weekly trend and concerns that the current decline may be slowing.
While total cases, hospitalizations, intensive care unit population, and ventilator usage appear lower for the sixth-straight week, the percentage of the drop has leveled. “It does give us some pause about whether or not our decline is slowing,” Beshear said. “Certainly, the curve of that decline, the slope, will not be as significant this next week. Our hope is that this will be just a one-week issue.”
He commented on the presence of a Lambda variant in Louisville but insisted that the dominant strain impacting the commonwealth is the Delta variant, which health professionals credit for most Kentucky deaths.
When asked about an expected announcement by the U.S. Department of Labor on employee vaccination requirements, Beshear insisted it is not a “vaccine mandate.” Instead, he called it a “testing mandate,” which will require weekly tests of all major employers’ unvaccinated workers.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued an emergency temporary standard (ETS) Thursday that will require employers and Kentucky local governments with 100 or more employees to require weekly COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated workers. It is unclear how many state employees may be affected by the mandate, which begins January 4, 2022.