LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Vaccine sites throughout Kentucky and Indiana are welcoming people seeking to get their coronavirus vaccines to come without scheduling an appointment.
The UofL Health mass vaccination site in Cardinal Stadium's parking lot is one of many sites around Kentucky that have been allowing walk-up appointments.
"We didn't want to say no to anybody. Anybody that wants to be vaccinated, we wanted to provide that to them, so we set up our system to where it's best to have an appointment, it makes it easier, but we took walk-ups from the very beginning just because we knew we wanted to provide it to anybody who wanted it," UofL Hospital Associate Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hugh Shoff said.
Gov. Andy Beshear said most vaccine sites around the state are now allowing walk-ins, and the goal is to start shifting from the mass vaccination sites to getting vaccines to local doctors' offices, grocery stores and health clinics.
At the Cardinal Stadium site, which is equipped to give up to 4,000 shots each day, Shoff said he has seen more of a lull in the last week as the demand for the coronavirus vaccine has begun to slow.
"We want to hang out together," he said. "We want to go out and eat at a restaurant, all those sorts of things and be more relaxed. And we really can't do that safely until we get people vaccinated."
Shoff said part of this decline is likely due to vaccine hesitancy, but he also attributes some of this to people worrying about not having enough time to get their shots. He hopes allowing walk-in appointments will give people who want the vaccine the opportunity to get their shots.
"Some people might think it'll take a lot of time, it's a lot of effort to come down here and get your vaccine," he said. "My response to that is we've built this so you're in and out in 18 minutes including your 15-minute wait time."
Across the river in Jefferson County, Indiana, the county health department is also seeing a similar decline in vaccine demand. Tammy Monroe, an administrator at the health department, said the department is given around 700 vaccines each week, but it usually has no more than 10 shots left over each week as there are still people looking to get their shots. But the Jefferson County (IN) Health Department has opened it up to walk-in appointments as well following guidance from the state.
"Now we're more into the age group of the working population that has been a little more difficult for them to get in here and receive their vaccine, so we're hoping the walk-in appointments will help that," she said.