CMC to get COVID vaccines for health care workers

Registered nurse Emily Robinson (foreground) uses hand sanitizer between COVID-19 testings as infection preventionist Mandy Smiley (left) and pharmacy technician Macey Felker prepare to take more COVID-19 tests in this Times Leader file photo. CMC will receive vaccines for health care workers next week.

Caldwell Medical Center has been selected as a distribution point for COVID-19 vaccines for health care workers on the front line of fighting the coronavirus.

It is not yet known when the facility will receive those vaccines.

CMC Chief Nursing Officer Douglas James said that the medical center has been working closely with the Kentucky Department of Public Health, Kentucky Hospital Association and regional coalition partners in the process to get vaccines for some time.

“Much of the information that we have been getting has been a little generic in nature, where they tell you that ‘We’re expecting this to happen’ or ‘We anticipate this happening on this date’ or whatever, but nothing specific,” he said.

“We had a call earlier this week where they gave us a little more specifics on it. What it looks like at this point — unless something changes — is that Caldwell Medical Center will be receiving vaccine next week.”

James said the medical center does not know the exact date or the number of doses that the CMC will receive, but that all that it will receive will be allocated specifically to health care workers.

“Unfortunately, none of this first round of vaccine will be available for the general public or anyone outside of the health care arena,” he said.

Mercy Health-Lourdes Hospital in Paducah and Baptist Health Madisonville were among the first facilities in western Kentucky to receive vaccines for their front-line workers.

James said it is likely that CMC would be the distribution point for coronavirus vaccines for the general public, but emphasized that it is not known when that will be and how many doses would be allocated for that.

“At this point, all of that is unknown,” he said. “I do not know (if CMC would be the only distributor of the vaccine in Caldwell County) for sure. As part of CMC, of course, our clinics — the Caldwell Medical Associate clinics — would be involved in that distribution process as well.

“I would speculate — it’s pure speculation — that by that time, other providers in the community might have access to it as well as the retail pharmacies that administer vaccine already.”

CMC is continuing its free COVID-19 testing at the entrance to its facility. Testing is done by appointment only after 4 p.m. on weekdays. To make an appointment, call 270-365-0428.

Testing will begin at 2 p.m. this Wednesday and on Dec. 31. It will be closed on Dec. 24 and 25.