LOUISVILLE, KY. (WAVE) - Metro Louisville’s first mass vaccination site has officially opened.
Hundreds of doses of a COVID-19 vaccine are expected to be administered daily at Broadbent Arena on the grounds of the Kentucky Exposition Center. The vaccination site went from an idea to reality in just eight working days.
At the moment, health care officials in the city say they have the ability to administer all the doses they have, including surplus amounts.
“We’ll be giving all of those in the coming days,” said Dr. SarahBeth Hartlage, co-chair of Louisville COVID-19 task force. “I expect we’ll be getting larger allocations from the state in the weeks to come, and we’ll be giving every bit of it that we get.”
In order to keep up with an increased supply, Dr. Hartlage said they’re relying on the community. Over 700 people have already volunteered to help.
“We have nurses giving the injection, but we also have folks helping to control traffic or keeping an eye on things in the parking lot, checking paperwork,” Dr. Hartlage said. “There’s something for anybody; everybody who wants to participate.”
At the moment there are enough volunteers to at least run the site for three weeks, but the site could have to be open several weeks past that or even more depending on the next few weeks.
It’s a major project for the city that they’re excited to see get off the ground.
“Thank you for your patience, thank you for your excitement to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Sarah Moyer, the Chief Health Strategist. “That gives me a lot of hope. I hope we can get our whole city vaccinated as quickly as possible.”
Nana Ama Bullock, a Louisville health care worker, received the shot Monday.
“It was cool. It was quick,” Bullock said. “I didn’t feel anything. So, it was nice. The lady that gave the shot was pretty good.”
Bullock completed the entire process from her car.
“I was expecting to come out of the car and queue and all that stuff,” she said. “So, this was nice with minimal exposure.”
That experience, was not only easy, but provides peace of mind to the health care worker who comes in contact with patients often.
“I’ve been exposed at least twice,” Bullock said. “So, when the opportunity arose for me to take the vaccine, it was a sense of relief.”
“I was really excited,” Amber Gensheimer, a nurse who got vaccinated Monday, said. “It’s a long time coming. It’s been a long year for a lot of people. For those of us who work in health care, watching all the people come in and out with the illness and people lose their lives.”
Gensheimer is among those who will return in several weeks to get a second dose.
“It’ll change a lot of people’s lives, when they’re able to get the vaccine, and we’re hopefully able to get back to life as we knew it,” Gensheimer said.
Around 1,000 people are expected to get the vaccine the first week and then 1,200 every week following, for as long as it takes to get everyone vaccinated that wants it. The vaccinations will happen in phases, starting with healthcare workers and first responders.
The vaccination site is looking for volunteers with medical and non-medical backgrounds. To apply to volunteer, click here.