MURRAY – As all Kentucky adults became eligible for booster shots this week, COVID-19 vaccines are also now available in Murray for anyone 5 years old and above.

According to the Associated Press, the Food and Drug Administration approved child-sized doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use at the end of October. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices met the following week and unanimously voted to support the use of the vaccine for children in the age group, NPR reported. 

Although the Calloway County Health Department does not currently have plans to administer the vaccine itself, Director of Public Health Jamie Hughes and Director of Nursing Joe Crawford encourage parents and families to check www.vaccines.gov to find out where the vaccine is available locally. The website allows users to type in their ZIP code and search for vaccines within a radius of 1, 5, 10, 25, 50 or 100 miles. People can search for Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech or Johnson & Johnson/Janssen, or all of the above, as well as different age group categories. 

As of Thursday, the Pfizer vaccine was available to ages 5-11 at the Murray Walmart and at Murray Pediatrics. Murray-Calloway County Hospital CEO Jerry Penner said Thursday afternoon that the vaccine had only just arrived, so Murray Pediatrics was only beginning to schedule appointments.

The pediatric vaccine is also available at the Walmart locations in Benton, Mayfield and Paducah, as well the one in Paris, Tennessee. It is also offered at the Graves County Health Department, the Henry County (Tennessee) Health Department and Strawberry Hills Pharmacy and Sam’s Club in Paducah.

In Murray, vaccines.gov said the Moderna vaccine for adults is available at the health department, Kroger, Walgreens and Walter’s Family Pharmacy. Walmart has both the Moderna vaccine for adults and Pfizer for anyone 5 and older. The J&J vaccine appears to be out of stock everywhere in town.

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Every adult in the state is also now eligible for a booster shot, which many physicians have recommended because studies have shown that the vaccines’ efficacy declines over time. Gov. Andy Beshear signed an executive order Wednesday that qualifies every person 18 years old and above and living or working in the commonwealth to get a COVID-19 vaccination booster six months after their second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines, or two months after a single-dose J&J vaccine. In a news release, Beshear said the state was seeing declines in case numbers and the test positivity rate for many weeks, but that  the numbers had recently begun to plateau or even slightly increase.

“We are moving into the amazing holiday season with Thanksgiving, Christmas and other gatherings, which unfortunately are especially risky for COVID-19 being able to spread,” Beshear said. “Because of that, it’s more important than ever that we get people vaccinated and get people their boosters to push their immunity up to the highest levels, because over time that immunity wanes.”

Before Wednesday, citing CDC guidance, the state had limited the Moderna and Pfizer booster shots to Kentuckians 65 and older or people with significant underlying conditions or jobs that expose them to many people. Beshear said he was concerned about Kentucky’s trajectory because of spiking cases in Europe. The state’s news release said that as of Wednesday, more than 437,000 Kentuckians had received a booster.

“Folks, you really need to get vaccinated and get this booster, and now it should be fairly easy,” Beshear said. “It’s going to make you much safer over the next several months.”