LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - All three Louisville healthcare systems have temporarily suspended vaccine appointments for people 70 and older who are part of Phase 1B of the vaccine rollout.
Last Friday, UofL Health, Baptist Health and Norton Healthcare announced they would be assisting the Louisville Metro Health Department in administering the vaccine to most of the people in the 70 and older group. Just three days later, all three healthcare systems were forced to close appointments after running out of shots and being flooded with calls and requests from people 70 and older.
Dr. Steve Hester, chief medical officer of Norton Healthcare, told WAVE 3 News Norton received around 7,000 doses of the vaccine to give to people 70 and older. The healthcare system was inundated with requests, and its 14,000 available appointments were quickly booked.
“We’ve heard a lot of demand in the community, so I really wasn’t surprised,” Dr. Hester said. “I think we’re going to continue to see demand particularly in these age groups.”
Demand is incredibly high, but Hester said it’s good news people want to be vaccinated.
Around 40,000 people in the 70 and older category told the Louisville Metro Health Department they were interested in receiving the vaccine, according to Hester.
Norton expects to receive around 7,000 doses weekly, although that could change depending on allotments from the federal government. The healthcare system hopes to receive its next shipment in two weeks and will open more appointments as more doses arrive.
“The state has been working great with us helping us get supply for the community, it’s just that we’re on a national shortage, and as we continue to work through that I do think it’s going to take some time,” Hester said. “I think that over the next month we’ll probably continue to be in this 70 plus based on demand.”
Baptist Health released a statement Tuesday requesting people not call the hospital, as its switchboard operators do not have access to scheduling and have experienced a high volume of calls. Vaccine appointments must be made online at Baptist Health, however, there are none currently available.
Hester said those waiting to receive the vaccine need to continue to wear their masks, wash their hands and stay home if they feel sick.
The best way to check for vaccine appointments for people 70 and older only, is to go to one of the following sites:
If you do not have internet access, to check for available appointments, call (502) 861-4499.