Vaccine doses filled with hope and optimism – Winchester Sun
By Mitchell McConell
Republican leader of the US Senate
We have seen a modern medical miracle in the past 12 months. Several safe and highly effective COVID-19 vaccines are helping Kentuckians leave the pain and worries of the past year behind. These cans are full of hope and optimism, and I urge every eligible Kentuckian to get a shot ASAP.
During a two-week hiatus in the Senate session, I traveled on the bluegrass about these life-saving vaccines. I visited clinics in almost every corner of our Commonwealth and thanked the hardworking Kentuckians of Pike County for the purchase. Some facilities are small and serve the local community. Others are massive, like the University of Kentucky’s Kroger Field operation, which vaccinates up to 3,000 Kentuckians in a single day.
I was proud that the Senate helped over 1.5 million Kentuckians get their shot. Last year we overcame political differences and passed five historic and completely bipartisan rescue packages. We’ve propped up the economy, helped small businesses and workers, and fueled Operation Warp Speed with $ 48 billion to develop vaccines and treatments in record time.
According to the medical professionals I spoke to, our goal is herd immunity – when 75% of us are vaccinated. Unfortunately, a recent national survey showed that some populations are reluctant to receive the vaccine. I took the vaccine as soon as it was my turn and I encourage you to get your shot too. From this point onwards, Kentuckians aged 16 and over can register. Everyone should take the opportunity as soon as possible. This is the best way to end this fight and help our economy get back on its feet.
Kentuckians aren’t just helping fight this virus in our own communities. We are also at the center of the national vaccination effort.
In McKesson, Bullitt County, I saw a distribution facility the size of 20 soccer fields. Kentucky workers move in and out of massive freezers that keep the vaccines in extreme temperatures. From there, the cans are directed to the UPS Worldport logistics center at Louisville Airport, which has distributed over 110 million cans across the country.
In the last bipartisan bailout I negotiated in December, the Senate allocated $ 8.75 billion to these vaccine distribution efforts. So far, Kentucky has received $ 87 million from last year’s bills to send shots out to all 120 counties.
Our progress toward herd immunity has nothing to do with the Washington Democrats’ spending spree of nearly $ 2 trillion that passed only weeks ago. Not a single Republican endorsed his liberal wish-list, which spent just 1% on vaccines and less than 9% on the entire healthcare struggle. They denied the reality of where we are now in the fight against this pandemic. Instead, their calculation was irresponsibly borrowed from future generations and did not correspond to the present moment.
During my visits, I also had the opportunity to raise additional concerns in the minds of Kentuckians. I met with executives from over a dozen counties who were still recovering from recent severe ice storms and devastating floods. Along with my fellow Kentucky congressmen, I wrote letters to President Biden urging him to swiftly approve the governor’s requests for federal relief so our communities could get back on their feet.
After stopping by the St. Elizabeth Healthcare Vaccine Center in Northern Kentucky, I also received an update on the inspirational work the Life Learning Center is doing to combat homelessness and the substance abuse epidemic. As the pandemic has increased demand for their services, dedicated treatment professionals and career counselors are helping those in need get a second chance. While in Owensboro, I spoke to local officials about their ongoing efforts to keep their streets safe from illegal drugs. Executives across bluegrass are dealing directly with this scourge, and I am proud to continue to support their work.
When the Senate begins another term, I’ll take back what I heard in Kentucky. The Washington Democrats propose one bad idea after another to impose the whims of New York and California on Central America. Together with my Republican colleagues, I am ready to continue defending Kentucky’s values and delivering them to our communities.
Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, is the Senate Republican leader. Last year he led the delivery of five historic and non-partisan COVID-19 rescue packages.