Dr. SarahBeth Hartlage, who was responsible for coordinating the mass vaccination of Kentucky residents against Covid-19 in her role as associate medical director of the health department, has died “suddenly and unexpectedly” at 36.
Mayor Greg Fischer’s office announced her death Friday morning but refused to say why she died.
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Dr. Sarah Moyer, the city’s chief health strategist, described the death of the 36-year-old triple vaccinated doctor as “sudden and unexpected.”
“We are so grateful for the opportunity to have known and worked with her,” Moyer said in a statement. “As a result of her leadership, knowledge and planning, thousands of our Louisville residents received life-saving COVID-19 vaccines.”
The Courier-Journal remembered her as a tireless vaccine advocate who led meetings and drew up doses of the vaccine.
Hartlage, 36, joined the Louisville Health Department in September 2020. She quickly became the face of the LouVax site at the Kentucky Exposition Center, which was a hub for vaccine distribution in the city for months in 2021.
During her time overseeing those efforts, Hartlage led meetings, walked the Broadbent Arena floor every two hours, drew up doses of COVID-19 vaccine and made an office under the bleachers.
Hartlage was also responsible for pushing vaccine propaganda in the media.
She was a regular face throughout the pandemic on weekly and biweekly calls with the media as she explained the nuance of new variants, vaccines and more.
Fischer praised Hartlage’s community work in a statement, saying she “will be remembered in our community as a deeply compassionate, inspirational leader who made a switch to public health in the middle of a historic public health crisis.“
However, he also admitted that she was responsible for spreading vaccine propaganda and influencing gullible people into taking the vaccine.
Fischer said she “took command of an amazing team of city workers and volunteers to vaccinate tens of thousands of people in a previously unthinkably short amount of time, while also working to ensure vaccines are being distributed equitably throughout the community and communicating facts about their safety in relatable ways to non-medical professionals,” Fischer said.
Dr. Sarah Moyer, the director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, also spoke about Dr. Hartlage’s death.
“We are stunned and deeply saddened by the sudden and unexpected passing of Dr. SarahBeth Hartlage. Our hearts and prayers are with her family as well as the many employees, partners and volunteers who have worked closely with her over the past two years. We are so grateful for the opportunity to have known and worked with her. As a result of her leadership, knowledge and planning, thousands of our Louisville residents received life-saving COVID-19 vaccines,” Dr. Moyer said.
Gov. Andy Beshear tweeted Friday afternoon that he and his wife, Britainy Beshear, “are sorry to hear of her unexpected passing.”
Doctors are baffled why the 36-year-old woman, who had received three Covid-19 vaccines, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly.