HENDERSON, Ky. (WFIE) - The White House announced Friday the Biden administration will be partnering with the commonwealth of Kentucky to build new community vaccination centers (CVC) in Henderson and London.
Officials say the CVC will be at the Henderson County Cooperative Extension.
The site, in addition to the mobile vaccine services being provided by the commonwealth, will be capable of administering a combined approximately 7,000 doses per week.
The White House has already deployed federal teams to work hand-in-hand with commonwealth and local jurisdictions. These sites will operate five days per week (Tuesday – Saturday), and run for at least six weeks.
The Henderson County site, located at 3341 Kentucky 351 (Zion Road) in Henderson, will open Thursday, April 29. Personnel from the Department of Defense will support the administration of vaccines at this location.
Amanda Hardy is an agent at the Henderson County Extension. Hardy says last week, she met with several people from across the country, offering them a tour of the exposition center.
It wasn’t until afterwards, she realized the group was coordinating with the White House.
“Me not knowing what was fixing to happen,” says Hardy, “it was larger than we could have ever imagined.”
During this pilot period, officials say the federal government will provide limited direct vaccine allocation to the site through FEMA.
These centers will follow Kentucky’s vaccine eligibility requirements, and they will accommodate walk-up visitors. After receiving their vaccination, individuals will proceed to a post-vaccine waiting area for at least 15 minutes, per CDC guidelines, to be monitored for any adverse reactions.
Officials say the goal of establishing these joint federal pilot centers is to continue to expand the rate of vaccinations in an efficient, effective and equitable manner, with an explicit focus on making sure that communities with a high risk of COVID-19 exposure and infection are not left behind.
This announcement came during the White House’s COVID-19 briefing Friday.
Officials say just more than one-third of Henderson County’s residents have been vaccinated.
The CVC will not only serve as a resource to Henderson County, but also to its surrounding counties.
Henderson Mayor Steve Austin told 14 News he thought the reason the county was chosen was because of low vaccine participation, and recent daily spikes in case numbers.
Mayor Austin said he hopes they get vaccination rates above the 50 percent range.
The site will also partner with Deaconess Henderson Hospital, the mayor said.
He also says Deaconess will provide vaccine storage for the vaccine site.
“We have a lot of partnerships working on this thing,” says Mayor Austin, “and it just creates that opportunity for everyone, but people have got to take advantage of the opportunity.”
Bobbie Jarrett is the executive director of the Henderson Housing Authority. She says this new clinic will better serve people who cannot attend regular vaccine clinics during normal business hours.
”Oh, it’s fantastic,” says Jarrett. “They will be able to schedule or walk in and have their vaccination either after hours when they get off work or on a Saturday. So that opens it up for lots of people.”
Agents at the Henderson County Extension say that is the main goal for this clinic to better serve low-income communities across western Kentucky.
“The other thing that we were told,” says Hardy, “is they will be bussing people in from other counties. They will actually be going to those counties and getting people who couldn’t drive that far, or may not even have a vehicle. We’ve been told it could be quite a bit of people, and that transportation will not be an issue.”