COVID-19 vaccine

A dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentuckians aged 16 and older are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Last week, Gov. Andy Beshear announced the expanded eligibility would begin on Monday, April 5. That's one week sooner than the state's original target date for the age group. 

Doctors said they hope the younger population will sign up for the vaccine, saying there have been young people hospitalized with COVID-19. 

"I want to encourage all the young people out there: You're not invincible, or those around you aren't either," said Dr. Hugh Shoff, associate chief medical officer for UofL Hospital and emergency medicine physician. "So get out and get a vaccine so we can help prevent the virus from spreading in our community."

Shoff said he hopes to see lots of new vaccination appointments made for this expanded eligibility.

"As we get into the younger groups, we worry that we will see less and less interest in those populations," Shoff said. "We want to see high numbers, but we're ready to see maybe not as much, and I think that's where it's really important to get the info out there that young people need to get the vaccine as well."

Per the Food and Drug Administration, right now 16- and 17-year-olds can only receive the Pfizer vaccine. People 18 and up can receive the Pfizer, Modera or Johnson & Johnson. 

A new mass vaccination site is opening at Cardinal Stadium on April 12. Schoff said the plan is to use the Pfizer vaccine there as well as at the already existing UofL Health vaccination sites in the city. 

Schoff said appointments online are highly recommended, but the mass vaccination site will take people without an appointment. 

"It's a drive-thru as it is, so if you end up deciding last minute or you're impatient and you don't want to have to go through that process, we aren't going to turn you away," Shoff said. "We're going to try and get you the vaccine no matter what."

Shoff said 16- and 17-year-olds are encouraged to bring a parent or guardian with them to their vaccination appointment if possible.  Those at Cardinal Stadium are expected to administer 4,000-5,000 vaccines daily to Louisville residents, as well as people from other parts of the state.

"Please don't worry about it," Shoff said. "If you want the vaccine, sign up and come get it."

To find other vaccination sites across the state, click here to be directed to an interactive map on the state's website. 

Last week, Beshear said nearly 40% of adult Kentuckians have received a vaccine.

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