Older adults in long-term care facilities in Kentucky began receiving COVID-19 vaccinations on Monday.

Federal contractors with Walgreens and CVS are vaccinating staff and residents in at least five facilities over the state Monday, officials said. Gov. Andy Beshear said he expects residents for the most part from the state's long-term care facilities will get vaccinations by March.

“Today there is somebody who has received this vaccine who's going to really make it through this pandemic who otherwise wouldn't,” Beshear said at a press conference Monday.

Older adults are some of the most at-risk for contracting severe cases of the condition caused by COVID-19. Long-term care residents in the state constitute a lot more than two-thirds of Kentucky's 2,397 coronavirus deaths to date.

Early on within the pandemic, state officials expanded testing and limited visitations at long-term care facilities to try and minimize spread from the virus. Still, more than 9,500 staff have tested positive, Beshear said.

To show the outcome the virus can have on a single facility, Beshear highlighted the Thomson-Hood Veterans Center in Wilmore, where 34 residents have died within the last 8 weeks.

“And it shows how ruthless herpes is and why it's so important these vaccinations occur at the start of long-term care,” Beshear said.

Vaccinations at the veterans center are required to start Tuesday, during Monday, contractors began inoculating staff and residents in the Episcopal Church Home in Louisville. Recipients are scheduled to get a booster shot within 3 weeks.

Executive Director Beverly Edwards said it is just within the last month the virus has started to consider a toll on its staff and residents, but already, the impacts have been “heartbreaking.”

“I am excited to receive the vaccination and that i encourage everyone to take it to assist our elders,” Edwards said. “Everyone has individuals inside their lives that mean the world for them.”

Kentucky has already received a lot more than 23,000 doses from the Pfizer vaccine, greater than a third which have already been accustomed to vaccinate frontline healthcare workers in the state, Beshear said.

The state hasn't yet decided on which group could be alongside receive the vaccine, but Beshear said age and career are a couple of from the factors they are considering while planning their next steps.