Kentuckians 16 and up eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine

Kentuckians 16 and up eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccine

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Kentuckians 16 and older became eligible to sign up to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Monday.

It was great news for parents like Scott Fitzgerald, who has an almost 16-year-old son. His 22-year-old daughter has already booked an appointment to get hers.

“He’s asthmatic, so when they said ‘Hey, we’re going to open this up to everyone,’ it was a no-brainer,” Fitzgerald said.

However, Fitzgerald’s son was a bit more hesitant, especially after seeing his mother have a reaction to the Moderna vaccine. After some time, though, Fitzgerald said he agreed to get the vaccine once he turns 16 in May.

“It’s a tough decision for parents when you know it’s the right thing for your kids, and then your kids turn around and say ‘No, I don’t want to get it,’” Fitzgerald said. “That was the hardest thing for my wife and I to overcome and really had to work with my son to try to get him to come around and quell his fears with that. Certainly, we weren’t going to make him get the vaccine, though we strongly encouraged it,” he added. “Ultimately (my son) just came around and decided he was going to get it.”

Healthcare systems like UofL Health are prepared to vaccinate children like Fitzgerald’s son. UofL Health plans to administer the shots at its mass vaccination site at Cardinal Stadium; it is already accepting appointments and will begin to give out the first doses starting April 12.

“We have the ability to vaccinate up to 4,000 at the mass vaccination site, as well as our locations that UofL Health has been running for vaccines,” Dr. Hugh Choff, UofL Hospital’s Associate Chief Medical Officer and an emergency physician said. “Right now, we have a good number of appointments available, so we still have the ability to take that influx right now.”

According to Dr. Choff, if demand increases, UofL Health will expand its vaccine sites.

In addition, Norton Healthcare is accepting appointments for those 16 and older at its Breckenridge and Shawnee vaccination sites.

“The only real challenge with 16 and older is making sure they’re aware their parent has to be with them, and there is a minor consent form that has to be signed,” Jillian Eagan, BSN, RN at Norton Healthcare said. “(Their parents/guardians) also have to be with them at their follow-up to make sure that they consent for that, so that’s really the only change, but we can handle as much volume as we can put on a schedule. We’re ready.”

Oldham County Health Department’s director, Matt Rhodes told WAVE 3 News the department has Moderna vaccines, so it plans to vaccinate Kentuckians 18 and older. However, he advised anyone in the area who are 16 and older and looking for appointments to consult Baptist Health La Grange to make an appointment.

“Previously, we were only receiving 200 doses per week, and that was based on our population, but since we’ve increased our allocation to 1,000 doses a week,” Rhodes said. “We’ve opened up to all Kentucky residents 18 and older to try to help in a regional capacity to make sure we’re vaccinating everyone who wants to get vaccinated.”

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