Independent pharmacies help spread vaccines to smaller communities

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)Six new regional vaccination sites will open in the state as will mobile clinics, 10 Kroger stores, 15 Walmart stores and 125 pharmacies, including Walgreens and Good Neighbor independent pharmacies.

In total, more than 150 vaccination sites in Kentucky, in addition to local health department vaccination programs, will be operating by next week, Gov. Andy Beshear said Thursday.

“We are efficient. We have built a system that can administer more vaccinations than we are currently getting,” said Beshear. “These new sites are a big deal. They are going to move us forward and build out what we need so when supply increases, we are ready to get it out even more quickly to communities throughout the state.”

“Each new site we open offers additional capacity to administer more vaccines than we currently have supply to give them. The good news is that, as supply increases, each site will be able to ramp up immediately to reach more people without start-up delays,” said Transportation Secretary Jim Gray, the Vaccine Distribution Project Director. “The logistics are incredibly complex, but we’re continuously increasing both our capacity and our efficiency to eventually meet the needs in every Kentucky community.”

Kentuckians can visit the state’s COVID-19 site or vaccine.ky.gov to learn more about signing up for appointments at locations across the commonwealth.

Six New Regional COVID-19 Vaccine Sites
Kentuckians can see a full list of new regional sites here. Learn more about signing for appointments at all regional vaccination sites here.

Kroger Stores Offering COVID-19 Vaccines
Kentuckians can see a full list of Kroger store sites hereSign up for Kroger store vaccine appointments here.

Walmart Stores Offering COVID-19 Vaccines
Kentuckians can see a full list of Walmart sites hereSchedule here for Walmart store appointments beginning Feb. 15, 2021 at 5 p.m. EST.

New Federal Pharmacy Program
Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman said starting this week, approximately 13,000 additional first doses per week will be coming to Kentucky through 125 pharmacies. COVID-19 vaccines will be offered at 78 Walgreens branches and 47 Good Neighbor independent pharmacies aimed at serving vulnerable Kentuckians.

Individuals can sign up for Walgreens appointments here. Kentuckians will need to create a Walgreens account for scheduling opportunities.

In addition, Lt. Gov. Coleman said she knows there are significant barriers for receiving the vaccine in both rural and urban areas of the commonwealth, and that the administration is committed to addressing them.

“We are working to remove barriers that exist for folks who want to get the vaccine but cannot do so easily,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman. “I am excited to announce numerous initiatives across the state where the work to provide equitable access for the vaccine has come to fruition.”

Blue Grass Community Action Partnership Offering Free Transportation
Blue Grass Community Action Partnership (BGCAP) announced its BGCAP Transit service will immediately begin offering free transportation to and from two regional COVID-19 vaccination sites.

Residents within the BGCAP 11-county service territory are eligible to reserve an appointment for round-trip transportation from their home to either the Kentucky Horse Park or Ephraim McDowell Hospital.

Those 11 counties are: Anderson, Boyle, Casey, Franklin, Garrard, Jessamine, Lincoln, Mercer, Scott, Washington and Woodford.

To reserve a ride, residents should call BGCAP Transit at 800-456-6588 at least 24 hours in advance of their vaccination appointment time. All BGCAP Transit vehicles are wheelchair accessible. Face masks are required at all times while riding on any BGCAP Transit vehicle.

Norton Healthcare is launching vaccine clinics in partnership with the Beshear administration to reach at-risk, underserved individuals ages 70 or older in Louisville at St. Stephen Baptist Church and Bates Memorial Baptist Church.

“At Norton Healthcare, it is our responsibility to remove any barriers we can that prevent individuals from getting vaccinated. We recognized the need to further expand access, so we reached out to our faith community partners to help us register their members,” said Russ Cox, Norton Healthcare president and chief executive officer. “We are honored to work with them to bring the vaccine directly to those who want and need it this week at St. Stephen Baptist Church and Bates Memorial.

“As more tiers open up, we will continue to reach out and do what we can to ensure that everyone in our community who wants the vaccine has an opportunity to receive it.”

University of Kentucky (UK) Mobile Vaccination Units
“The University of Kentucky will begin offering four outreach clinics on successive Saturdays targeting areas with underserved populations due to race, language, economic or other barriers,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman. “Registration coordinators will provide materials to patients while they are in their post-vaccine observation period focused on empowering the patients to promote the importance of getting a COVID-19 vaccine among their networks.”

UK is consulting with state and city partners to identify four community organization partners, one for each outreach clinic beginning this month.

Rural Health Clinics
“Finally, there are several federally qualified health care centers or rural health clinics who are providing local outreach designed to assist vulnerable populations get access to the vaccine,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman. “Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation is serving Letcher, Owsley and Perry counties. Primary Care Centers of East Kentucky are providing outreach to Perry and Leslie counties. Juniper Health is assisting in Breathitt, Lee and Wolfe County. And the June Buchanan Clinic is serving Knott County.”

“We are very thankful to partner with these organizations to provide as many Kentuckians as possible the opportunity to receive their shot of hope,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman.

For more information on vaccine eligibility and vaccination sites, visit vaccine.ky.gov or the state’s COVID-19 website.

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