Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:

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April 19

The State Journal on organ and tissue donations:

At last week’s Kiwanis Club of Frankfort virtual meeting, a Kentucky mother shared the touching story of the 18-month wait she and her family endured while her young son, Jacob, who was diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy, was on the list for a lifesaving heart transplant. Sarah Gilbert’s family never got the phone call that a heart was available and Jacob passed away at 4 years old on Sept. 14, 2012.

Oftentimes we hear about those who receive organ and tissue transplants in time to save their lives, but stories like Jacob’s are far too common.

Right now, there are 114,000 U.S. residents waiting for a lifesaving transplant. Each day 22 Americans die while on the wait list for an organ transplant and every 10 minutes another person is added to the national wait list.

In Kentucky, approximately 1,000 residents are on the organ transplant waiting list.

April is National Donate Life Month — a time to educate and encourage all Americans to give the gift of life by becoming organ, eye, tissue, marrow and blood donors.

“Organ and tissue donation saves and heals lives 365 days of the year, but it takes someone to make the important decision to register as a donor,” said Shelley Snyder, executive director of KY Circuit Clerks Trust For Life and vice president of strategic partnerships for Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA). “Registering as a donor takes less than a minute and gives hope to the 1,000 people in Kentucky who are waiting for a lifesaving transplant.”

Kentuckians can sign up to become organ and tissue donors online at donatelifeky.org or in the Medical ID tab on the iPhone Health app and at the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet when renewing driver’s licenses.

Together we can save lives and shorten the amount of time those in need of organ and tissue transplants have to wait for lifesaving surgery. If you haven’t already, sign up to become an organ and tissue donor to give hope to patients like Jacob, whose young life could have been saved had a heart been found in time.

Online: https://www.state-journal.com/

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April 18

The News-Enterprise on Gov. Andy Beshear setting a COVID-19 vaccination thres­hold challenge:

Gov. Andy Beshear set a COVID-19 vaccination thres­hold challenge for the state described by his chief health commissioner as Kentucky’s “exit strategy” from pandemic business capacity restrictions and other health orders. 2.5 million is the magic number for eligible Kentuckians receiving at least one vaccination shot.

Once this number is reached, the governor said capacity restrictions and operation hour curfews would be lifted on all businesses with total occupancy limits of fewer than 1,000 people.

This number needs to be reached, not only for the public health benefit, but also for the health of the economy.

COVID-19 vaccination eligibility now is open to anyone aged 18 and older, 16 and older for the Pfizer vaccine. At mid-week last week, more than 1.5 million Kentuckians had received vaccination doses. It was estimated then that it could take four to six weeks to meet the 2.5 million threshold.

That estimate might stretch a bit longer with the temporary halt in the use of the single dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

The FDA and CDC urged the pause last week after six cases were reported of a rare and dangerous cerebral sinus blood clotting disorder shortly after the women involved had received a J&J coronavirus vaccine. One case resulted in death. It has been reported that some 6.5 million J&J vaccine doses had been administered before the pause.

It isn’t clear if a connection exists between these blood clotting cases and the single dose vaccine the individuals received. The pause allows health experts time to investigate.

While it is understandable this could create hesitancy among those not yet vaccinated, it remains important for any Kentuckian of eligible age who hasn’t yet received a vaccination shot against coronavirus carefully consider doing so.

Our ability as a state, indeed as a nation, to return to some normality of life will come only when a level of “herd immunity” is reached. That level, identified at about three-quarters of Americans, is reached when enough people have either been fully vaccinated against disease or have antibody immunity because of prior infection.

Receiving a vaccine doesn’t come with a guarantee you won’t contract COVID-19. But the research does support that once the second dose is received, you’re largely protected against the disease. And if you do get sick with it, symptoms aren’t likely to be severe to the point of requiring hospitalization.

As a nation and state we’re not yet at herd immunity level, but we need to be. The more people who receive vaccination doses, the more quickly we emerge from the cloud of the pandemic.

Until that’s accomplished, it’s important we remain vigilant in protective measures the CDC continues to stress – wearing a mask, following social distancing guidelines, regularly washing hands and the rest.

Getting the shot is our best shot at a return to our collective pre-pandemic lives.

Online: https://www.thenewsenterprise.com/