Louisville, KY (STL.News) Gov. Andy Beshear marked another key moment in Kentucky’s fight against COVID-19 on Monday, when he joined health care leaders to open a drive-through vaccination site at Cardinal Stadium where 200,000 Kentuckians can get their shot of hope over the next seven weeks.
Standing in the midst of 28 vaccination lanes in the stadium parking lot, the Governor also announced the Team Kentucky Vaccination Challenge: when 2.5 million Kentuckians have received at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Beshear will remove capacity restrictions and physical distancing requirements for nearly all venues, events and businesses that cater to 1,000 or fewer patrons. Gov. Beshear said he would also end the curfew for bars and restaurants when this goal is met.
Masking would remain in effect and mass gatherings would still be limited until COVID-19 variants are under control and more Kentucky children are able to be vaccinated.
The Governor said just over 900,000 more Kentuckians need to be vaccinated in order for the state to meet the Team Kentucky Vaccination Challenge goal.
“This is a pivotal moment in our battle against COVID-19, and with this site, where we can vaccinate 4,000 Kentuckians every single day, we are winning the war and taking the fight to COVID,” said Gov. Beshear. “Thanks to UofL Health for being a partner as we vaccinate more and more Kentuckians, save lives and end this pandemic.”
“We are so happy, grateful and honored to work with the state, the city and this community to open the largest vaccination site in the commonwealth,” said Dr. Neeli Bendapudi, president of the University of Louisville. “We have the ability, the will and the skill to vaccinate up to 200,000 people during this seven-week period. I’d like to thank Gov. Beshear for his leadership that has been steadfast, rational and effective and has set up Kentucky as a national standard in addressing the pandemic.”
More than 1.5 million Kentuckians have received at least one dose of the safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines. With the vaccinations, the Governor’s decisive action to protect people and Kentuckians following guidance to slow the spread of COVID and save lives, the number of cases and deaths in Kentucky have plummeted in the last three months even as case numbers are increasing in other states. The vaccinations are key to winning the fight against COVID-19, which has already taken the lives of more than 6,200 Kentuckians.
UofL Health, in partnership with the state, opened the vaccination site at University of Louisville’s Cardinal Stadium Purple Lot, which will have about 100 health care workers, volunteers and Kentucky National Guard members vaccinating up to 4,000 people a day. The site, off Interstate Highways 65 and 264, was chosen because of its central accessibility and close proximity to the Medically Underserved Areas of west and south Louisville.
“We are committed to making sure everyone who wants a vaccine can easily receive one. Our goal with this vaccine site, and the pop-up sites we’ve hosted throughout the community, is to decrease barriers, increase access and balance equity in health,” said Tom Miller, CEO of UofL Health.
UofL Health will have the regional site open six days a week for seven weeks, with the ability to vaccinate more than 4,000 people per day. State guidelines now allow COVID-19 vaccination of everyone ages 16 or older.
The Cardinal Stadium Purple Lot, at 3134 S. Floyd St., can operate up to 28 vaccination lanes at the site, four of which are specifically for people who walk or drive up without an appointment.
“Our goal is to not turn anyone away. While appointments are encouraged because they’ll make the process quicker for the patient, we will accommodate anyone 16 or older who shows up and wants to receive the vaccine. The vaccines have proven to be safe and effective and the more people who are vaccinated, the better,” said Dr. Jason Smith, chief medical officer at UofL Health.
Appointments are available online at www.uoflhealth.org or by calling 502-681-1435. The site will be closed Thursday, April 29, through Saturday, May 1, because of Kentucky Derby events and will be closed Saturday, May 8, for University of Louisville graduation ceremonies.
The site is a massive undertaking that would not be possible without the help of volunteers from UofL Health, AmeriCorps, the Kentucky National Guard, the University of Louisville School of Medicine and other community members.
This is the latest successful partnership between UofL Health and the Beshear administration. Other partnerships include pop-up vaccination events with dozens of local churches, such as the vaccination of about 2,500 Kentuckians March 27 at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage.