EMH, Extension office partner for improved vaccination site

Ephraim McDowell Health’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic is moving to the newly expanded Boyle County Cooperative Extension Service building on Corporate Drive, beginning Tuesday.

Those who already have appointments scheduled for next week will be notified by a phone call telling them of the change in location, said EMH Clinical Effectiveness Manager Jason Dean.

He explained that by moving the regional vaccination site to the Extension office space, patients “will have a better experience. It’s going to open things up.”

Since December, EMH’s vaccination clinic has been held in smaller rooms on the second floor of its surgery center.

At the Extension office, there’s plenty of parking near the building, and signing-in, registering, administering the vaccine and the waiting area will all take place in one enormous room. And there are no elevators, Dean added.

Currently EMH is receiving and administering 600 first and second doses of the Moderna vaccine every week — 36 vaccine given every hour during regular business hours, four days a week, Dean said. Already, EMH has administered more than 8,400 vaccines and 2,700 people have completed their second dose, he added. “We have not wasted a single dose,” Dean said. “We will find somebody, even if we have to stay,” later than expected, he said.

Patients should call EMH at 859-936-8350 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. to make an appointment. Or they can go online at emhealth.org and click on the large blue button that reads, “Click here for more information.”

Do not call the Extension office for an appointment, Dean said.

Patients can also download and print out their registration form to fill out before coming for their appointment, which saves time, Dean said. And very soon, they will also be able to complete the form online and submit it without printing one out.

The Extension office is located at 99 Corporate Drive, right behind Bluegrass Community Technical College off of Lebanon Road. The new entrance to the building is the third drive on the left and can be easily recognized by the stone facade. Signs will be placed showing where to park and enter the building.

Boyle County Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences Alethea Price Bruzek said they are excited to be partnering with EMH to host its regional vaccination site. It will be the first public event that the Extension office will have in its new and expanded space, she said.

The building project was completed about four months ago, but because of the pandemic, they haven’t been able to have any classes or programs yet. “We’re waiting on guidance from the state,” she said.

When talk about vaccination sites were first being discussed, the University of Kentucky officials began reaching out to the Extension offices throughout the state asking if any of them would be willing to participate. “We said, yes!” Bruzek exclaimed.

Bruzek said the Extension building and surrounding property was paid for by taxpayer dollars. “We’re here for the community.” And she’s going to make sure that everyone who walks through the doors for their vaccine will learn about all of the free programs, classes and services the Extension office provides to the community.

“It’s going to be a great opportunity to showcase what the county has. It’s also a great partnership,” Bruzek said.

She’s so excited to welcome vaccine patients there, that she’s filling the lobby with tables of brochures and information about all of their services and programs. Bruzek also has goodie bags for them to take home. “They’re going to know what we are and what we do.”

But, she wants to remind everyone, they can’t make COVID-19 vaccine appointments.