A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

‘Take it from me’ campaign urges vaccinations as COVID-19 spreads, inundates Kentucky hospitals

With the surge created by the delta variant of COVID-19 sickening thousands and filling Kentucky hospitals to capacity, the Kentucky Medical Association (KMA), Kentucky Foundation for Medical Care (KFMC), Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky (FHKY), Kentucky Hospital Association (KHA) and the Kentucky Primary Care Association (KPCA) have introduced a new set of videos as part of the “Take It From Me” campaign to encourage residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The new series includes 18 15-second to two-minute videos featuring Kentucky physicians, a nurse, and a patient who has recovered from the virus. The healthcare providers describe the challenges they’ve faced treating patients with COVID-19 and urge vaccination to help protect both the patient and their loved ones. Patient Ethan Koehler tells his story of skepticism regarding the vaccine before he got sick, how the virus impacted his life, and why he’s now an outspoken proponent of vaccination.

“Overwhelmingly, we know Kentuckians trust their physicians, and these healthcare providers have high levels of confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines. More than 96% of physicians are vaccinated against COVID-19, and we want our patients to take it from us that these vaccines are safe, effective, and necessary to help end this pandemic,” said KMA President and pulmonologist Neal Moser, M.D., of Northern Kentucky.

“Our polling shows most Kentuckians do what their healthcare providers recommend, and that includes vaccinations,” said Ben Chandler, FHKY president and CEO. “We’ve also heard from people they weren’t sure whom to trust and what information was real when it came to the virus or vaccine. That’s why testimonies from Kentuckians who’ve battled COVID-19 – from the patient side or provider side – are important. These are real stories from our local communities, and they can help us ‘move the needle’ and get more people vaccinated.”

Nancy Galvagni, President of the KHA, agrees, and underscores the impact the latest surge has had on Kentucky hospitals. “So many of our hospitals are operating at full or near-full capacities, which are rates like we’ve never experienced. This means if you are in a car accident or have a heart attack, it may be difficult to find a hospital bed for you. So, this is about more than just COVID. We need Kentuckians to get vaccinated as soon as possible so we can end this surge and restore our hospitals and healthcare workers.”

Dr. Christopher Jones

“While there has been an uptick in the number of Kentuckians getting vaccinated in recent weeks, we still have a lot of work to do,” said David Bolt, Chief Executive Officer of the KPCA. “There are still many residents who are hesitant. We hope that hearing from physicians, who have been vaccinated themselves, as well as a fellow Kentuckian who was previously unvaccinated and suffered greatly from this virus, will motivate those who are still on the fence to get the vaccine.”

Those featured in the updated “Take It From Me” series include:

• Mark Brockman, Jr., M.D., a pediatrician with Norton Children’s Medical Group-Iroquois.

• Christopher Jones, M.D., a transplant surgeon with the University of Louisville.

• Monalisa Tailor, M.D., President-Elect of the KMA, and an internal medicine physician with Norton Community Medical Associates-Barret.

• Ronnica Adams, RN, Director of Infection Control at Jackson Purchase Medical Center.

• Ethan Koehler, a recovered COVID-19 patient from Benton.

The “Take It From Me” videos will be served as advertisements on social media and streaming services statewide, with particular focus in Kentucky counties where vaccination rates remain low.

Viewers are encouraged to consult the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine website, or to call 1-800-232-0233 to find a location near them. The “Take It From Me” campaign will run throughout the remainder of 2021.

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