Regional vaccine hub opening in Lexington on Tuesday, Feb. 2



Natalie Parks

One of four regional vaccine hubs in Kentucky will open at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington next week.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced the location of the first hubs during his daily presser on Thursday, Jan. 28. Two sites will open in Paducah and one in Danville, all of which will go live next week.

Kentucky Horse Park’s Alltech Arena is the site for Lexington. Beshear said they will announce more hubs on Thursdays of the next two weeks.

Sign-ups for the mass clinic will go live at 5 p.m. on Thursday at

“When you go to schedule, please know not all of you will be able to schedule at the same time and not everybody is clearly going to get in at the very start,” said public health commissioner Steven Stack. “This will get better with time though.”

Operated by Kroger, the Lexington site will be an indoors, in-person process inside of Alltech Arena. Beshear said they will look into drive-through sites as a future possibility.

Beshear said the site was chosen for proximity to the interstate, its large facility and internal roads.

According to Kroger representative Pheli Roberts, the location will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Kroger pharmacists will administer doses.

Lexington’s hub will open on Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 10 a.m. Beshear said it will offer 3,000 appointments a week.

Appointments will be scheduled a week at a time. Beshear said it is the “strong preference” that Kentuckians receive the vaccine in their region, but the Kroger site will not prevent someone from getting it in another location.

The state site will direct someone to their closest site. Beshear noted that some of the 34 vaccine providers in the state may not allow people outside of their county.

“Please don’t be on more than one waiting list,” he said.

Transportation secretary Jim Gray is spearheading the regional hub initiative and gave specific instructions for the Kentucky Horse Park site.

“We understand that if we’re going to start opening regional sites we have to supply them with enough vaccine to plan for staffing,” Gray said.  “That means they’ll be getting a steady supply.”

He said the Lexington location will have very clear signage and that recipients should enter the horse park off of Ironworks and follow signs to the Alltech Arena.

Gray asked recipients to wait in their cars until five minutes before their appointment time and emphasized that appointments are required.

“This is not a drop-in site,” Gray said. For those who have trouble walking, security and National Guard will be present with golf carts.

Inside the arena, recipients will go through a four-stage process including check-in and observation.

Officials noted that these regional hubs, including the horse park, will serve those 70 and older.

“As of today, all vaccination sites are asked to prioritize the 70 and older population until further notice. Other persons from Phase 1A and 1B remain eligible for vaccination,” Beshear said. “As vaccine quantities and available appointment times allow, persons in 1C may also be scheduled to ensure each site ensures 99 percent or more of all their vaccine doses received in seven days.”

Along with the Kentucky Horse Park scheduling site, a new government webpage will go live on Thursday afternoon dedicating to helping Kentuckians figure out when and where they are eligible for the vaccine.

Those needing technical assistance can also call a new hotline at 855 – 598 – 2246. Dr. Stack said those not currently eligible can sign up to get notifications when their phase is reached.

A second number is available for the hearing-impaired at 855 – 326 – 4654.

Those seeking information on eligibility will be asked demographic questions like age and occupation, as well as county of residence.

Beshear and other officials cautioned that there is still a supply limit for vaccines.

“We are already providing more vaccine than we have supply, but a lot of this is the building and the planning for what we hope will be a larger amount at the end of this first quarter,” Beshear said of the new hubs.

The Biden administration announced in the last week that they contracted Pfizer and Moderna for an additional 200 million doses, expected to arrive for summer.

The federal government also hopes to inform states of their expected allocation three weeks at time instead of the current uncertainty of week-to-week decisions.

“As the federal government continues to be able to guarantee us minimum amounts for longer periods of time, we’re going to work with all the centers out there, vaccination sites, to try and be able to schedule weeks out in advance,” Beshear said.

Beshear said all K – 12 employees are already scheduled through their superintendent, as are many first responders.

The regional hubs will focus on those 70 and older because that is the segment of 1B of group that remains unvaccinated. Beshear said they are 20 percent through the estimated half a million Kentuckians in 1B, whereas there are over one million residents in 1C, what Beshear called “a crush of people.”

Beshear said Kentucky will get 64,000 doses next week. Expected demand is “through the roof.”

“Any demographic worried about taking it, the very largest portion of any demographic now wants it and wants it as quickly as possible,” Beshear said.

He called the expansion of vaccine sites a light at the end of the tunnel, but “we’ve got to be careful.”

Dr. Stack cautioned Kentuckians to remain vigilant with safety measures, saying that a vaccine prevents severe sickness but spread can still occur.

“Keep making good choices,” Beshear closed.

COVID update

Beshear reported 2,947 new cases on Jan. 28.

“It’s far too high, but this is the lowest Thursday we’ve had in four weeks,” he said. Hospitalizations, ICU numbers and ventilator numbers are all down.

The positivity rate fell under 10 for the fourth day in a row, now at 9.04 percent.

“Our trends are going in the right way, and that’s a good thing and it’s because of your work,” Beshear said.

Fayette is one of five counties with over 100 cases reported today with 218.

Beshear also reported 69 additional deaths, some of which were under view. That is the highest single day for death and brings the state’s total losses to 3,611.

“These are all people we’ve lost at least in part because of COVID, so let’s remember how dangerous it is even if our cases are headed our trends are headed in the right direction,” Beshear said.