NEWS | April 12, 2021

Ky. Guard supports new site capable of 4,000 daily COVID vaccinations

By Dale Greer, 123rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs

The state’s largest drive-through clinic for COVID-19 vaccinations officially opened at Cardinal Stadium here today with the help of 35 Airmen and Soldiers from the Kentucky National Guard.

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.

“Cardinal Stadium is, of course, the home turf of the University of Louisville Cardinals. While the red and black enjoy the off-season, we’re here today — everybody united — to cheer on Team Kentucky. And right now, we need everyone to rally us to victory.”

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 heading up 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 efforts 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.

UofL president Neeli Bendapudi said the university was pleased to be part of the vaccination program, saying it 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 added.

Approximately 1.55 million Kentuckians have received at least one COVID-19 shot to date, 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 by visiting www.vaccine.ky.gov.