Louisville Public Health Department set to begin mass COVID-19 vaccination program

Louisville public health department set to begin mass COVID-19 vaccination program

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The rollout for the COVID-19 vaccine is ramping up in Louisville.

City health officials on Tuesday detailed their plan for a drive-thru, mass vaccination site at Broadbent Arena by the Kentucky Expo Center; the site is scheduled to open Jan. 4.

“At this exact moment, our supply exceeds our ability to distribute them, but within a couple weeks our ability to distribute will exceed the supply,” Dr. SarahBeth Hartlage said.

Hartlage is the interim medical director for Metro Public Health. She explained the first doses distributed Monday will go to people in Phase 1A, including healthcare workers, EMTs and other first responders. Each appointment was scheduled through the participants’ employers to ensure proper distribution.

By late January, Hartlage added Phase 1B may begin and teachers would be next in line to get vaccinated.

“We hope that we’ll be giving out everything we’ve got as quickly as we can. There won’t be a surplus for very long, it will all be used up very soon,” she said.

The city received its first shipment of Moderna’s vaccine last week and expects to vaccinate more than 500 people by Friday.

The vaccine site at Broadbent Arena is set to expedite the process. In its first week, Metro Public Health hopes to vaccinate 1,000 people; in the weeks following, the goal is to vaccinate 1,200 people a day.

“We anticipate at least 600 people per dose per day, which is to say 600 first doses and 600 second doses so 1,200 total people per day at capacity,” Hartlage said. “Once we get running there’s a chance we could exceed that capacity.”

Over 200 community volunteers and city staff will help run the site but there are still distribution challenges expected.

Broadbent Arena is expected to be the city’s “primary site” for vaccinations but as supply increases other sites are anticipated in Louisville through hospitals, pharmacies and other outpatient facilities.

According to Hartlage, members of the general public may not get the vaccine until late summer or fall. She noted that additional vaccine options, once approved, could shift that timeline.

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