NEWS | March 10, 2021

One shot at a time - Regional vaccine distribution in the Commonwealth

By Staff Sgt. Lerone Simmons Kentucky National Guard

As Kentucky transitions into the vaccination phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kentucky National Guard maintains its partnership with Kroger, University of Louisville, Kentucky Emergency Management, and other agencies to help facilitate the regional distribution of vaccines to citizens of the Commonwealth.

“As a Lexington resident, seeing the National Guard here feels like taxpayer money well spent,” said Pam Welch, a recipient of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Welch was one of thousands who signed up for an appointment and showed up to the Kentucky Horse Park vaccination site to receive her series of COVID-19 vaccinations, administrated by Kroger health professionals.

She expressed her appreciation for the ease of making it through the process.

“Everything went smoothly and it took less than an hour; to include the wait time post-vaccination,” said Welch. “I think having all-hands-on-deck is very important to getting everyone vaccinated.”

There are currently seven vaccination sites around Kentucky dedicated to the public; located in Covington, Lexington, Frankfort, Louisville, and Bowling Green, all of which are supported by both the Army and Air components of the KYNG.

For 2nd Lt. Trae Cardwell, the COVID-19 Vaccination Task Force officer in charge and assigned to the 138th Field Artillery Brigade, this is an opportunity for the Soldiers of the KYNG to play their part in supporting the commonwealth.

“We are serving as a support element to Kroger as they run the medical side of vaccinations,” he said. “Our Soldiers across the state are helping with decontamination, coordinating and controlling traffic flow, and assisting with on-site transportation for those who need access to the building from the parking lot.”

Cardwell has supported COVID-19 efforts since last year and serves as the 138th FAB’s Liaison to Kroger.

Beginning with drive-through testing last March, Kentucky Soldiers augmented efforts led by Kroger to facilitate drive-through testing sites, which proved successful in getting members of the public aware of their COVID-19 status.

With vaccinations in full-swing, the support from the KYNG comes full-circle.

“It’s great for us to be able to partner with the National Guard since we first rolled out the testing sites, and now it’s awesome that we’re able to live out Kroger’s motto of feeding the human spirit, by facilitating these mass vaccination sites,” said Kristen Lawson, Kroger health and wellness operations specialist and Kentucky Horse Park vaccination site manager.

As vaccinations increase in the commonwealth, the continued partnerships between government and the private sector in the face of adversity, shows that our resiliency will carry us through the pandemic.