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Louisville Opens First Drive-Thru Coronavirus Vaccination Site

Louisville's first mass vaccination site at Broadbent Arena on January 4, 2020.
Louisville's first mass vaccination site at Broadbent Arena on January 4, 2020.

City officials expect to administer about a thousand doses of the Moderna vaccine this week at Louisville’s first mass coronavirus vaccination site at the Kentucky Exposition Center.

The drive-through site at Broadbent Arena is not yet open to the general public, but officials hope to scale it up as supplies grow and the city moves onto the next phase of vaccinations. 

“This is a wonderful facility for administering the vaccine. Out of the weather, clean, drive through, plenty of parking space, we expect that we will be vaccinating here for weeks and months to come,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. 

Louisville Interim Medical Director Dr. SarahBeth Hartlage said the city received its first doses at 11 a.m. December 23rd, began vaccinating people within the first few hours and set up the drive-thru site in just 8 days. 

Volunteers are operating the site. People with appointments simply drive up, undergo a clinical screening and receive the vaccination, Hartlage said. Afterwards, they’ll sit in a parking lot under medical supervision for about 15 minutes before heading on their way. 

“We'll be giving about 150 doses here today and about 1,000 doses here this week and increasing every week thereafter,” Hartlage said.  

For now, the vaccinations are by appointment only and reserved for health care personnel who fall under the phase 1a group outlined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

City officials hope to vaccinate more than 20,000 independent health care providers at the site including personnel generally working outside the hospital system such as doctor and dentist offices, said Hartlage.  

Louisville expects to use the Broadbent Arena site along with hospitals and pharmacies to administer vaccines in the weeks and months to come. 

Ryan Van Velzer is the Kentucky Public Radio Managing Editor. Email Ryan at rvanvelzer@lpm.org.

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