Guthrie, whose 2nd District lags in vaccination, advocates it
Kentucky Health News chart from Wikimedia Commons base map; rates rounded to whole numbers.

Guthrie, whose 2nd District lags in vaccination, advocates it

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When the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended a third dose of coronavirus vaccine for people whose immune systems are compromised, U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie of Bowling Green took the opportunity to promote vaccination for everyone.

“Covid-19 vaccines work. The data from local health-care providers and federal health agencies proves it,” Guthrie said. “Unvaccinated patients represent the vast majority of hospitalizations from Covid-19 right now in Kentucky and across the country. With the Delta variant relentlessly spreading through communities across the country, I encourage everyone to get vaccinated for Covid-19.”

Guthrie represents the Second Congressional District, which includes Owensboro and much of Central Kentucky and lags behind the state as a whole in vaccinations.

It includes part of Spencer County, which has one of the state's lowest shares of residents who have received at least one dose of vaccine, 25.54%; and part of Jessamine County, which has 51.88%. Only two others, Boyle (53.55%) and Nelson (51.7%), have more than half vaccinated. The statewide share is 54%. Guthrie's home Warren County has 41.8%; Daviess has 47.9% and Hardin 48.9%.

Among Kentucky's congressional delegation, Sen. Mitch McConnell, Guthrie, and the sole Democrat, Rep. John Yarmuth of Louisville, have been the most frequent advocates of the vaccines. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers of Somerset chimed in Friday, in a video from the Kentucky Primary Care Association.

Guthrie "holds a key assignment over health policy . . . as the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee," notes Bruce Schreiner of The Associated Press. "His statement on Friday came on the same day Kentucky reported 4,009 new coronavirus cases, its 10th-highest daily number of infections since the pandemic began. About a month ago, daily virus cases statewide had declined to about 200, but the highly contagious delta variant is fueling the new surge."

The Food and Drug Administration ruled Thursday that "transplant recipients and other similarly immune-compromised patients can get a third dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine," Schreiner notes. "The decision offers an extra dose only to those high-risk groups — not the general public."

Guthrie said in his statement that the decision “gives people who are immunocompromised the opportunity to receive an extra layer of protection with a third Covid-19 vaccine dose. This is important for people who are organ transplant recipients, have certain cancers, or have other medical conditions that compromise their immune system.”

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Cross-posted from the KY Health News. Kentucky Health News is an independent news service of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based in the School of Journalism and Media at the University of Kentucky, with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

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