Baptist Health Hardin was inundated with a high volume of calls Wednesday as it shifted its focus to vaccinating people in Phase 1B of Kentucky’s COVID-19 vaccination plan.

As the COVID-19 vaccinations continue to roll out across Kentucky, health care systems, including Baptist Health Hardin, according to its website, are adhering to state-issued guidelines to ensure the most vulnerable and those working on the frontlines of the pandemic are given the vaccine to protect them and those with whom they interact.

To date, following the vaccination roll out plan, the hospital has administered 2,033 of the first shipment of 2,100 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine received Dec. 23.

“We received 2,100 doses in our first shipment and as the state’s allocation allows, we will receive more,” Baptist Health Hardin Assistant Vice President of Operations Steve White said.

High-risk health care workers were given priority of the first shipment. This week the health system began focusing on vaccinating people in Phase 1B, individuals 70 years and older.

Because of the excessive call volumes interrupting normal business, the hospital in a Wednesday news release, asked the community to help by holding all calls inquiring about COVID-19 vaccinations.

According to the release, the vaccination schedule for those in Phase 1B is full for the next two weeks and no walk-in vaccinations are available.

One Hardin County resident, Arnold Myers, 91, wrote in an email it did not seem like Baptist Health Hardin was prepared for the heavy response.

“They have done nothing about getting information out to the public. I found out about the vaccine being available by pure accident,” he said. “You would have thought BHH would have setup a system, like online registration (or) at very least get communication out so that we know what to expect.”

White in the release said they “will use every vaccine we receive to get every community member we can protected and we will do that as quickly as possible.”

“We share the community’s excitement over the vaccine’s availability and the promise it brings to end the pandemic,” White said.

White encouraged residents to visit their website for the latest information.

Kentucky health officials, using Centers for Diease Control-issued guidance, determined the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in phases based on need and risk.

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