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KYNG supports site capable of 4,000 daily COVID vaccinations

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Morgan Thomas of the Kentucky Air National Guard directs traffic at Kentucky’s largest drive-through COVID-19 vaccination clinic, at Cardinal Stadium in Louisville, Ky., April 12, 2021. More than 30 Soldiers and Airmen from the Kentucky Army and Air National Guard are supporting the clinic, where as many as 4,000 patients a day can be vaccinated.

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Morgan Thomas of the Kentucky Air National Guard directs traffic at Kentucky’s largest drive-through COVID-19 vaccination clinic, at Cardinal Stadium in Louisville, Ky., April 12, 2021. More than 30 Soldiers and Airmen from the Kentucky Army and Air National Guard are supporting the clinic, where as many as 4,000 patients a day can be vaccinated.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The largest drive-through clinic for COVID-19 vaccinations in Kentucky officially opened at Cardinal Stadium April 12 with the help of 35 Kentucky National Guard Airmen and Soldiers.

The clinic, which offers 28 lanes of service, will operate six days a week through May 29 and is capable of providing 4,000 shots per day, according to Gov. Andy Beshear.

"We're here at Cardinal Stadium in Louisville, ready to open the most ambitious vaccination operation to date," Beshear said during a ceremony to dedicate the site. "This is just the next step — even though it's a big step — in our successful rollout of the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines."

The Air and Army National Guardsmen, from the Louisville-based 123rd Airlift Wing and a variety of Army Guard units across the state, are directing traffic and assisting with logistics at the site, according to Air Force Maj. Tiffany Campbell, who is leading the mission.

Optimum traffic flow is essential considering how many vehicles are expected, she added. The goal is to have each patient in and out in about 10 minutes. If the site reaches maximum capacity, it will have provided care for 200,000 patients by the end of May.

"For us, this mission is about Kentuckians helping Kentuckians," Campbell said. "As members of the Kentucky National Guard, we live and work here, too, and we're grateful to help our friends and neighbors in any way we can. We'll continue to be here as long as we're needed to ensure a safe and effective vaccination program."

Hundreds of Kentucky National Guard members have been supporting the state's COVID-response since March of last year when they stood up an alternate care facility for overflow patients at the Kentucky Exposition Center. Since then, they've staffed numerous other inoculation clinics, drive-through testing sites and long-term care facilities serving more than 150,000 Kentuckians in Louisville alone.

The Cardinal Stadium clinic is possible because of a partnership between state government, the University of Louisville, UofL Health, the Kentucky National Guard and AmeriCorps.

Neeli Bendapudi, UofL president, said the vaccination program will "make a huge difference in our commonwealth's fight against COVID."

"We are so happy, so grateful and so honored to work with the state, the city and this community to open this mass vaccination site," she said.

Approximately 1.55 million Kentuckians have received at least one COVID-19 shot, according to Beshear. Once the state reaches 2.5 million vaccinated Kentuckians, the governor said he would eliminate capacity restrictions on "nearly all venues, events and businesses that cater to a thousand or fewer patrons."

"Every single individual's choices can get us closer to that normalcy we've been looking for," he said. "So this is how we do it: Let's make sure we get out there and let's make sure we get vaccinated."

Anyone age 16 and up may register for a free inoculation at one of more than 500 locations statewide.

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