Clinic facilities

Free COVID Shots, Gas Gift Cards at Kroger Field Clinic in KY

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A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the University of Kentucky HealthCare Immunization Program at Kroger Field in Lexington, Ky., Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021.

rhermens@herald-leader.com

Kentuckians can be vaccinated against COVID-19 and save gas this week at Kroger Field.

From 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, a clinic will offer free COVID vaccines and boosters at Kroger Field’s Green bundle. Each person who receives an injection will receive a $25 gas card.

Ryan Babb, coordinator of the Department of Retail and Community Pharmacy Services at University of Kentucky HealthCare, works with COVID vaccination clinics at retail pharmacies and mobile sites. He said the upcoming clinic will be held in conjunction with the Kentucky High School Athletics Association (KHSAA) baseball and fastball tournaments, held on the UK campus.

“There is a big push with KHSAA to get all of their athletes vaccinated, so the original intent was to provide those vaccines to participants and spectators as they came and went to the tournament,” Babb said.

However, he said the clinic is open to anyone aged five and over.

Babb added that the gas card incentive “has worked really well” as the clinic vaccinated more than 200 people last weekend, and he expects more this weekend as news of the clinic will spread. Although this site will only run for two days, he said plans are underway to offer incentives like this at future UKHC clinics.

The effort comes as COVID-19 cases are on the rise. 151 new cases were reported in Fayette County on Thursday, with a seven-day rolling average of 153 cases, according to the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.

For those looking to get vaccinated, Babb said they should bring a vaccination card if they have one, but they can also be searched through the state system if they don’t.

“We’re just happy to be able to provide this opportunity for people to get vaccinated,” he said. “Anything we can do to increase vaccinations in our area…we’re happy to do that, and we’re really, really happy that it’s been so successful.”

High Five for Health

The vaccination clinic is the result of a partnership between several organizations, including the Kentucky Department for Public Health, the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, the Kentucky Department of Education and KHSAA.

Ashley Brauer is vice president of communications for the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, a nonprofit organization that helps meet the health needs of Kentuckians and promotes health equity. She said the clinic was part of a larger public service campaign by the Foundation and the Kentucky Department of Education called “High Five for Health.”

“We encourage Kentucky college students and their families to create and practice healthy behaviors over the summer,” Brauer said. “We hope they can adopt some of these healthy behaviors and, in turn, set themselves up for success in the upcoming school year.”

High Five for Health
A graphic presents the five tips for adopting healthy habits from the High Five for Health campaign. Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky

One of those healthy behaviors is to “stay up to date with vaccines,” and Brauer said the foundation hopes the upcoming clinic will encourage Kentuckians to get vaccinated, not just for COVID-19.

“What we’ve seen during the pandemic is that children, and adults for that matter, aren’t necessarily getting the vaccines they’re supposed to. So we’re talking about vaccinations in general, as well as COVID vaccines and boosters,” she said.

The campaign website offers vaccination schedules for adults and children in five languages, as well as other resources for building healthy habits during the summer.