Gov. Andy Beshear is stressing that appointments and walk-ins are available at two vaccination sites in western and eastern Kentucky, both supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Beshear helped launch the Community Vaccination Center in Henderson on Wednesday. He said despite the state’s gains against the virus, the pandemic isn’t over, and the solution is getting more Kentuckians vaccinated.
“If we didn’t already know, we’ve learned our decisions every day, our actions every day, that we take or we don’t can be the difference of life and death to those around us," Beshear said in a news conference.
FEMA's mass vaccination site in western Kentucky is at the Henderson County Cooperative Extension Agency. The clinic will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10:00 a.m-6:00 p.m. through mid-June.
Kenny Garrett, director of the Henderson County Emergency Management Agency, says those giving immunizations are military-trained.
“They’re part of the U.S. Army, and they’re supported by their medical corps people, so we’ve got doctors and nurses, and DOD people, Department of Defense people that come in and do that," Garrett said.
Members of the Kentucky National Guard, as well as soldiers from Ft. Hood, Texas, are assisting at the Henderson site. FEMA has also sent two vans to Henderson that will serve as mobile vaccination clinics, and make stops in 11 surrounding counties.
The federal relief agency is also helping run a vaccination site in Laurel County. Statewide, FEMA will have the capacity to give 1,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine per day.
“We are committed to the equitable distribution of the vaccine and our top priority is to ensure everyone who wants a vaccine gets one,” said Gracia Szczech, regional administrator for FEMA Region IV.
FEMA and the commonwealth continue reaching out to underserved communities in Kentucky to educate and build trust about the benefits of getting vaccinated.
As of Wednesday, 1.7 million Kentuckians had received at least one dose of the vaccine, slightly over half of the commonwealth's adult population. Once 2.5 million residents get at least their initial injection, Gov. Beshear has said he'll lift most capacity restrictions on restaurants and other industries.