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2 out of 3 Eastern Ky. hospitals short of reaching herd immunization levels

Published: Aug. 6, 2021 at 7:11 PM EDT
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ASHLAND, Ky. (WSAZ) - Nearly a dozen health care systems in Kentucky will require all employees, volunteers, and medical students to have their coronavirus vaccine.

“There is a very, probably higher percentage of health care professionals than looking at the general public. Those numbers are higher. It does vary across the state,” said Nancy Galvagni, president and CEO of the Kentucky Hospital Association.

Nationally, 96% of doctors are fully vaccinated, according to the American Medical Association.

Two out of three major Eastern Kentucky hospitals fall short two percent of reaching herd immunization currently. It takes 70% of the population to be vaccinated to reach that threshold.

Nearly 68% of Appalachian Regional Health Care’s workforce is vaccinated, while 32% are unvaccinated.

King’s Daughters Medical Center also follows suit -- as 68% of the workforce is vaccinated and 32% are unvaccinated.

Pikeville Medical Center couldn’t provide WSAZ with the total number of health care professionals’ vaccination rates.

A spokesperson said previously that they didn’t require employees to disclose their vaccination status. PMC did not track it.

WSAZ reached out to Paul B. Hall Regional Medical Center, who said their vaccination rates for their employees are unavailable as the institution continues to gather the data. They also did not provide a comment about whether coronavirus vaccination would be required.

Vaccination requirements aren’t a new thing for health care professionals. The Kentucky Hospital Association said they require numerous vaccines for members.

“We already have requirements in place for other types of disease and viruses. Influenza is a good example.”

Only a small percentage of health care employees are currently unvaccinated. Galvagni wants people to know hospitals are just safe as they ever were, and people should continue seeking treatment.

“No one should be afraid to go to any hospital who hasn’t mandated their staff to be vaccinated. Hospitals are just at different points and times, and we will see more movement in one direction. That’s not to imply that any hospital is safer than another,” Galvagni said.

The health care systems adding this vaccine requirement for staff include: Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH), Baptist Health, CHI Saint Joseph Health, King’s Daughters Health System, Med Center Health, Norton Healthcare, Pikeville Medical Center, St. Claire Healthcare, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, UK Healthcare, and UofL Health.

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