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‘Today is just the beginning’: Kentucky opens first regional COVID-19 vaccination site with Kroger

Around 600 people are scheduled to receive the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Lexington’s Kentucky Horse Park Tuesday.

LEXINGTON, Ky. — The regional COVID-19 vaccination site in Lexington opened Tuesday morning at AllTech Arena at the Kentucky Horse Park. The site is the first of several that will open in the state through a partnership with Kroger Health.

“Today will be one of the days that marks a real turning point in when we began to win this war against COVID-19,” Gov. Andy Beshear said.

According to Beshear’s office, around 600 Kentuckians are scheduled to receive the first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday. Each site is expected to vaccinate more than 3,000 Kentuckians per week.

While Kentuckians in Phases 1A, 1B and 1C of the state’s vaccination plan can schedule an appointment through Kroger, the state is currently prioritizing vaccinations of people who are 70 years old and older. The number of appointments available is based on vaccine supply.

Transportation Cabinet Secretary and head of the Vaccine Distribution Project Jim Gray said appointments for the first three days at the Kentucky Horse Park’s site filled up in 90 minutes.

“The last four weeks, we vaccinated more people than we’ve received doses from the federal government meaning our only limitation at this point is supply, supply, supply,” Beshear said.

Ann Reed, the division president for Kroger, said her team will continue to support the state’s efforts to vaccinate priority populations through mass drive-through events.

“Today is just the beginning,” Reed said. “Once more vaccines become available, our efforts will consist of a combination of mass vaccine events and appointments at Little Clinics and pharmacies across the state of Kentucky.”

“We have to continue to grow our capacity so when we have those additional vaccines, when the manufacturing picks up, when we have a flood of these life-saving shots of hope, that we are ready to get them out there and get them in people’s arms as quickly as humanly possible,” Beshear said.

Paul French, a Lincoln County resident and veteran, was the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the Kentucky Horse Park site. According to Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, French is a 74-year-old father and grandfather who has diabetes, wears a pacemaker and is one treatment away from finishing chemotherapy.

Beshear said additional regional vaccination sites will be announced on Thursday, Feb. 4. Registration for those new sites should be open by 5 p.m. on that day.

Kentucky residents can also use the state’s new COVID-19 vaccine website at vaccine.ky.gov to find out if they are eligible for the vaccine and where to get one. People without Internet access can call 855-598-2246 for assistance.

Regional site appointments can be made on the Kroger website at kroger.com/covidvaccine or by calling 866-211-5320. New appointments will be added to the site at 6 a.m. each day.

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