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Beshear stresses convenience of getting COVID-19 vaccine

May 4, 2021 GMT
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear speaks to reporters following the signing of bills related to the American Rescue Plan Act at the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., Wednesday, April 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear speaks to reporters following the signing of bills related to the American Rescue Plan Act at the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort, Ky., Wednesday, April 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Getting a COVID-19 shot can be as easy as walking into some vaccination sites without an appointment, Kentucky’s governor said Tuesday in his latest plea to boost inoculation rates.

More than 1.8 million Kentuckians have received at least one dose of vaccine, but the pace needs to pick up, especially among younger people, Gov. Andy Beshear said.

“There are vaccination appointments available every week, at many different times throughout the day,” he said. “At some sites, you don’t even need an appointment. Get it done, for yourself and for your community, so we can reach our goal and relax more restrictions.”

Younger Kentuckians have lagged behind in getting vaccinated.

Data released Monday showed 27% of Kentucky residents between ages 18-29 had gotten the shots. The vaccination rate was 37% among Kentuckians ages 30-39 and 43% in the 40-49 age group, the data showed. Nearly 80% of people ages 65 and older were vaccinated.

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Once 2.5 million Kentuckians receive at least their first COVID-19 shot, Beshear has pledged to lift capacity and physical distancing restrictions for nearly all businesses, venues and events catering to 1,000 or fewer patrons. The governor indicated Monday that he will consider relaxing more coronavirus-related restrictions before the state reaches that vaccination target.

The state’s inoculation rate slowed in recent weeks, and the Democratic governor has repeatedly pleaded with Kentuckians to take the shots to defeat the pandemic.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., made another pitch Monday for Kentuckians to get vaccinated, saying: “I want to encourage everybody: finish the job.”

Anyone 16 or older is eligible to receive the vaccine in Kentucky.

Among Kentucky’s 120 counties, the top five vaccination rates are in Woodford, Franklin, Fayette, Scott and Jefferson counties, the state said. The lowest vaccination rates are in Christian, Spencer, Ballard, McCreary and Lewis counties, it said.

The state reported 776 new coronavirus cases Tuesday and seven more virus-related deaths. At least 6,532 Kentuckians have died from COVID-19.

More than 430 virus patients are hospitalized in Kentucky, including 102 in intensive care units, the state said. The statewide rate of positive cases was 3.47%.

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Find AP’s full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic.