Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced the state, in partnership with Kroger Health, will open its first regional vaccination site at the Kentucky Horse Park in Fayette County next week. Three additional regional sites are opening through partners Ephraim McDowell Hospital in Danville and Western Baptist and Lourdes Mercy both in Paducah.
The Governor also unveiled a new state website, vaccine.ky.gov, and hotline that help Kentuckians determine if they are eligible to receive a vaccine and then helps them find one in their region.
Gov. Beshear stressed that Kentucky, like other states, receives its vaccine doses from the federal government and due to limited supplies it will take time before everyone can be vaccinated. But, he said, everyone will get a turn.
“Beginning Feb. 1, 2021, the COVID-19 vaccination priority will be phase 1B, people ages 70 or older, and all vaccination sites are asked to prioritize this population until further notice,” Gov. Beshear said. “Other Kentuckians from phases 1A and 1B remain eligible for vaccination and as vaccine quantities and available appointment times allow, persons in phase 1C may also be scheduled, to ensure each vaccination site administers 90% or more of all vaccine doses received within seven days of arrival.”
Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 2, a regional vaccine site at Kentucky Horse Park’s Alltech Arena will open to those 70 and older who have an appointment. The Governor said appointments will be indoors for now but may expand to drive-through as weather warms and supplies from the federal government increases. He added that more Kroger and regional partner sites will be added and announced soon.
The Governor was joined Thursday by Pheli Roberts, health leader for Kroger Louisville Division, who shared more information about the first regional vaccination site.
Kentuckians can be vaccinated by appointment only, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday the week of Feb. 1, then from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Saturday beginning the week of Feb. 8.
“At Kroger Health we are committed to helping people live healthier lives and we’re happy to be able to provide an easy solution to those Kentuckians seeking a vaccine,” said Roberts. “Our team at Kroger Health stands with you to keep Kentucky and the surrounding communities healthy and safe.”
Find a Vaccine Website
By answering a series of questions on the new vaccine.ky.gov website, which is protected and secure, Kentuckians can determine if they are currently eligible for a vaccine and if so will be directed to a map that shows available vaccines sites across the state, like the four new centers added Thursday. As vaccine supplies increase, more sites will be added to the map and announced.
Kentuckians not currently eligible or unable to locate an available vaccine are encouraged to sign up for text or email updates by entering their name, county of residence and an email or phone number at vaccine.ky.gov. The sign-up is not a wait list or appointment scheduler, but aims to provide alerts when a person’s eligibility changes, or, for example, when vaccines are available in an area.
Find a Vaccine Hotline
Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, said in addition to the Find a Vaccine website, a new hotline has been added to help Kentuckians who do not have access to the internet or computer or need additional assistance. The hotline – 855-598-2246 or TTY 855-326-4654 – is available 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST Monday through Friday.
“Hotline operators are prepared to walk a person without internet through what's on the website via a phone call,” Dr. Stack said. “For those who are vaccine eligible, the operator can help them identify a vaccine location and connect them by phone or even help them look for an available appointment. For those not currently eligible, the operator can help the caller sign up for text or email notifications.”
Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray, who also serves as director of the Vaccine Distribution Project, shared a map of the Kentucky Horse Park location, discussed parking access and stressed patience as the state only has a limited amount of vaccines from the federal government at this time.
“We have no doubt that any available appointment will fill up immediately and we need every Kentuckian to know our ability to add more appointments and vaccine locations is strictly dependent on supply,” Secretary Gray said. “We do already have more Kroger regional sites planned in the weeks to come and we look forward to sharing that exciting news soon.”
This week, the Governor said the federal government will increase each state’s supply of COVID-19 vaccines and guarantee a minimum supply for three consecutive weeks.
“The top-line message on vaccines is the same as it has been: Our one issue is supply. Our only limitation at this point is the number of doses we can get from the federal government,” said Gov. Beshear.
The Governor added that the state had three specific challenges, all related to a limited supply of the vaccine. First, the small number of doses the state receives compared to the very large number of health care providers who would like to distribute it. Second, the state does not have enough vaccine doses or small enough vaccine batches to distribute them equitably on a county by county basis – instead the state is distributing equitably by region. Finally, as the state moves into larger and larger phases, the type of infrastructure needed from providers to accommodate patient needs changes.
As of 4 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28, Gov. Beshear reported the following COVID-19 numbers:
New cases today: 2,947
New deaths today: 69
Positivity rate: 9.04%
Total deaths: 3,611
Currently hospitalized: 1,561
Currently in ICU: 370
Currently on ventilator: 205