COVINGTON, Ky. — Northern Kentuckians 70 and older in vaccine phase 1B now have another way to get a COVID-19 immunization.
A regional vaccination hub, run by Kroger Health, opened at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center, 1 W. Rivercenter Blvd, Covington on Feb. 12.
Here's what you need to know about the mass vaccination hub coming to the region:
Who can get a vaccine at the Convention Center?
Kentucky's regional vaccine hubs are prioritizing people age 70 and older in vaccine phase 1B. Kentuckians in vaccine phase 1C are also now eligible to receive COVID-19 shots at this location. That group includes people 60 and older, people 16 and older with high risk conditions and essential workers. Find a list of conditions and essential fields here.
Not sure if you qualify? You can take an online survey to find out if you're eligible at vaccine.ky.gov, or call Kentucky's vaccine hotline, (855) 598-2246 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
How do I make an appointment?
You must have an appointment (no walk-ins) to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Rolling seven-day appointments can be scheduled online at www.kroger.com/covidvaccine. On that site, scroll down to "Kentucky," click "Check appointment availability" and under location, type "Covington." Then, scroll to find "Northern KY Convention Center COVID VACCINE CLINIC."
You can also schedule at www.kycovid19.ky.gov -- click the "Vaccine" tab -- or by phone at (866) 211-5320.
Appointments are available Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where do I go, and where do I park to get a shot at the Convention Center?
People will drive in on West Fifth Street and head north on Madison Avenue toward the Convention Center. There will be plenty of signage to direct vehicles, and the Covington Police Department and Kentucky State Police will handle traffic near the Convention Center, according to Covington Police Lt. Col. Brian Valenti.
The surface parking lot across from the Convention Center will be used for free handicapped parking. Other parking will be available in the nearby county parking garage free of charge.
Golf carts will be standing by to take people to the Convention Center with the help of Kentucky’s National Guard, Kenton County Emergency Management Director Steve Hensley said.
See a preliminary map of the site below:
Who is running the Convention Center vaccine site?
Kroger Health is administering vaccines at this regional hub, and it's slated to receive 2,000 doses weekly here. Kentucky officials said getting the site up and running now will provide the infrastructure to administer more vaccines in Northern Kentucky, as soon as the federal government supplies more doses.
Kroger is also running a hub in Lexington at the Kentucky Horse Park and one set to open next week in Bowling Green.
Do I need to schedule two vaccine appointments?
There are currently two vaccines available to the public from Pfizer and Moderna. Both types of vaccine require two doses from the same manufacturer, spaced three weeks apart.
Once you get your first dose at the Convention Center, you will be able to schedule an appointment for your second dose at the same location.
Do I need to pay for a vaccination? What about insurance?
Vaccines will be given at no cost, and you will not be turned away if you do not have insurance. Kentucky officials said your insurance may be billed for an office visit or administration fee, but the federal government has required that patients incur no out-of-pocket cost for getting the shot.
Where else can I get vaccinated in NKY?
St. Elizabeth, HealthPoint and NKY Health are also administering vaccines to Northern Kentuckians 70 and older.
Starting Feb. 8 through the week of Feb. 22, all Kentucky health departments will receive more doses weekly; they will be given doses equivalent to 1% of the population that department serves, with a minimum of 100 doses allocated per county.
Second doses of the vaccine ship to local health departments four weeks later. Officials said 90% of doses must be administered within the week, again given to Kentuckians 70 and older.
The federal government will ship a limited supply of vaccines to Walgreens and independent pharmacies in Kentucky, and locations receiving vaccines will be announced Feb. 11. Northern Kentucky Health has also listed 13 local Walgreens pharmacies where these vaccines will be available to people age 70 and older here. Independent pharmacies will be added to the list once registration information is available.
Can I get a vaccine in Kentucky if I live in another state?
Kentucky has tightened sign-up requirements to ensure its vaccines are given only to people who live in Kentucky. The one exception: people living in another state who work in "health care services involving direct care to patients in the Commonwealth" can receive a vaccine in Kentucky.
Should I get a vaccine if I've had COVID-19 before?
Health officials say you should still get a COVID-19 vaccine if you contracted coronavirus in the past and recovered. If you have COVID-19 right now, health officials say you should wait to get a vaccine until after your symptoms subside and you test negative for the virus.
When will Kentucky start phase 1C?
Officials have not announced when they will start vaccine phase 1C, which includes people 60 and older, people 16 and older with serious health conditions and essential workers.
So far, Kentucky has completed first vaccine doses to all residents and staff in long-term care facilities, nearly all K-12 educators and staff, and more than 150,000 people 70 or older. Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack says there are about 350,000 Kentuckians 70 and older still waiting on a first COVID-19 vaccine dose.
Since vaccines arrived in Kentucky last December, more than 556,000 Kentuckians have received at least one vaccine dose, more than 10% of the state population. Without counting Kentucky children, as there is no approved vaccine for kids under 16, that figure is even higher, Stack said.