LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDKY) – The first of Kentucky’s regional vaccine clinics began giving out shots Tuesday.
The statewide effort started in Lexington at Kentucky Horse Park. The location is one of the state’s four regional COVID-19 vaccination sites. The other locations are Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center in Danville, Baptist Health Paducah and Mercy Health-Lourdes Hospital in Paducah.
Governor Andy Beshear, Mayor Linda Gorton, and other elected leaders held a press conference Tuesday morning to kick off the vaccinations.
They believe this is finally the beginning of the long-awaited end of the pandemic.
“We’ve been fighting this war for the last 11 months, but I think when we look back on this battle years from now, today will be one of the days that marks a real turning point when we begin to win this war against COVID-19,” Gov. Beshear said.
The vaccination event at Alltech Arena is in partnership with Kroger Health. It’s by appointment only. All 3,000 of the initial appointments have been booked up. We’re told the first three days worth of appointments were booked in about 90 minutes.
People have been complaining about the locations of the regional sites, some saying that they’re too far, others have pointed up the difficulty with signing up for appointments online and over the phone. Governor Beshear says officials are working as quickly as they can to smooth out any issues.
He also said the state is becoming more effective in vaccinating people. Right now, the state is focused on vaccinating people in Phase 1B of the vaccination rollout plan, targeting older adults in their 70s. He said once more vaccines become available the state will shift to phase 1C.
Officials say other people in phase 1B, including K-12 teachers and first responders, and those in phase 1A can still sign up for vaccine here. Officials say more regional sites are coming as vaccine supply increases.
“Our focus in the site selections have been these: population densities, health equity, the thorough point, the volume, the amount of people we can get through the sites so that we can get earlier to herd immunity,” said Ky. Transportation Secretary Jim Gray. “Then drive times, our goal is to have no one to have to drive more than one county away.”
Gov. Beshear says more regional sites will be announced on Thursday. The governor says people can start signing up for appointments at those additional regional sites Thursday at 5 p.m.
Right now, people are getting vaccinated inside Alltech Arena. Once the weather warms up and vaccine supplies increase, Gov. Beshear said there will be a drive-through option.