Johnson & Johnson vaccine vial - AP.jpeg

A vial with the Johnson & Johnson's one-dose COVID-19 vaccine is seen at the Vaxmobile, at the Uniondale Hempstead Senior Center, Wednesday, March 31, 2021, in Uniondale, N.Y.  (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Just weeks ago, an appointment to get a COVID-19 vaccine was hard to come by. But as of late, accessibility has changed.

With more vaccine being distributed weekly, health care providers are opening up daily appointments to get the shot. And despite Kentucky broadening eligibility to anyone 16 and over, many of those appointments are now left open.

"There are fewer appointments being made right now," UofL Health Dr. Jason Smith said.

UofL Health is set to open a new drive-thru vaccine site Monday at Cardinal Stadium that can vaccinate 4,000 people per day.

However, those appointments aren't closed to being booked right now.

"The 18 to, I'll say, 50 crowd is just not as worried about this disease," Smith said. "They're not signing up for the vaccines."

The same can be said for local health departments throughout the state. 

The Bullitt County Health Department said it has a handful of doses left over each day. Administrators said it's due to the younger demographic being hesitant about the shot — not making it a priority — and the occasional appointment cancellation.

"It is getting harder and harder to fill those spots," said Chad Lynch, spokesperson for the Bullitt County Health Department.

Lynch said the health department posts on Facebook when there are leftover doses, trying to avoid having to waste any.

"I think the majority of people that have spoken with us is, 'We're just kind of waiting to see how everybody's handling the vaccine' or 'Wait until there's more data on the vaccine,'" he said.

The COVID-19 vaccine can expire. When it's mixed and ready to go in a syringe, it has a lifespan of about six hours before being rendered ineffective.

"If you can't use it within six hours, you have to throw it away because the mRNA, which is inside of there, will have broken down by that point, and you won't get a reliable response to the vaccine," Smith said.

While UofL has only had to discard about 50 total doses, it said it's important for young people to recognize these concerns and the need for the shot.

"There are people in the younger age groups that get really sick from this, spend weeks in the hospital and even die from this disease," Smith said. "Anything we can do to try and get this vaccine out as broadly as possible and get them signed up to take these appointments will be important."

If you'd like to sign up for one of the many appointments at UofL Health's Cardinal Stadium site, click here.

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