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‘Finish the job’: Sen. Mitch McConnell encourages Pike County as area leads COVID-19 vaccination efforts

Published: Apr. 8, 2021 at 12:51 PM EDT
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell dropped by Pikeville Medical Center Thursday for a discussion about vaccine distribution and COVID-19 relief bills.

Last year, Senator McConnell led the Senate to pass five rescue packages, distributing almost $48 billion for the development and treatments through “Operation Warp Speed.” In January alone, Kentucky received almost $87 million in federal funding to help the state administer COVID-19 vaccine shots.

McConnell said the funding and the diligent work of healthcare professionals to share information and spread vaccinations, is how the state will move toward the end of the pandemic. He also congratulated Pike County’s healthcare workers for leading the state in COVID-19 vaccination efforts, saying other areas could pick up some tricks from the blueprint created in the county.

“This county has done better than any other county in Kentucky,” said McConnell. “If they’re having any problems they might call the people here. They’ve done quite well and they’ve got a great system.”

According to McConnell, the progress is good and the end is near, but there is more work to be done.

“We’ve gotta get this all the way to the end zone and we’ve got to do it by this summer,” said McConnell. “So, I’m here today for two reasons. One, to congratulate you on an extraordinary job you’ve done so far, and to encourage not only you but everyone else in the state to finish the job.”

McConnell said he was ready to roll up his sleeve when the vaccines became available and he encourages others to do the same.

Though he believes the recently passed relief bill to be an irresponsible use of borrowing, he hopes to see it wisely used to help states like Kentucky move forward.

“Only 1% of it was about vaccines and only 9% of it was about healthcare and the rest of it it’s about a whole lot of other stuff we ought not to be borrowing,” said McConnell. “It is going to include a heck of a lot of money for our state and for other states and for counties well. So, I’m gonna count on them to spend it wisely and, frankly, from a financial point of view, it’s gonna be like Christmas in late spring.”

He said the money will go to many places, including Pike County.

In the past seven days, McConnell has stopped in Owensboro, Lexington, Louisville, Paducah, and Hazard for similar news conferences.

Watch the PMC news conference below:

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