/ by UK HealthCare
The COVID-19 vaccine is now available. UK HealthCare has mobilized hundreds of volunteers to assist with making our public vaccination clinic at Kroger Field run smoothly, but you may have some questions about how the process works.
Although we are vaccinating thousands of people each day, six days a week, it will still take several months to vaccinate everyone who wishes to be vaccinated. Dr. Ashley Montgomery-Yates, Assistant Chief Medical Officer, and UK HealthCare Chief Pharmacist Philip Almeter explain everything from how to sign up to when you should expect to be vaccinated.
For more information and to register, visit ukvaccine.org or call 859-218-0111.
How do I register to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
Dr. Ashley Montgomery-Yates: To register for a vaccine, go to our website, which is ukvaccine.org. There, you'll find lots of information about the vaccine and a big yellow button that you click to register.
Philip Almeter: There's nothing particularly complicated with what we're asking. Name, date of birth, and email.
Email is important, because that's one of the ways we're communicating that you're next to be vaccinated. There are also some standard demographic questions that the state asks us to collect. There's some other information, such as your social security number, that we're using for data collection purposes, so that we can match up our records with the state.
Can I help someone fill out the online form or have someone help me?
Montgomery-Yates: The form online can be filled out by anyone. We use several data points to identify you as a unique individual. If too many of those data points match [someone else’s information], then you'd be removed.
In general, if you have a parent who is not very internet savvy or someone who perhaps doesn't speak English as their first language, then you can absolutely assist them.
We're assisting many of our patients in clinic, too. We also have a phone number where you can call and ask for assistance in filling out the form over the phone. You can communicate with that person via the telephone, and they'll actually fill out the form for you, sitting at their computer. Anybody can help anyone fill out the form.
Why do I need an access code once I have been invited to be vaccinated?
Montgomery-Yates: We want to make sure that we're getting that vaccine out to the people who need it the most – the elderly, the folks [on the frontlines] in the health care systems, and the folks working in our school system, so that our kids can all get back to school. In order to ensure that those folks go first, we've used an access code to allow access to the scheduling system.
Almeter: After you fill out our online form at ukvaccine.org, after we evaluate where you fall in the phase, you can be invited to receive a vaccine. With that invite, we have set up SignUpGenius.com.
We use an access code to limit anybody getting access to the vaccine, because this is a federally funded program. We can't give it to anybody who wants it. We have to go through the CDC and state recommendations on who should get it first. The access code is meant to limit everybody having access to it at once.
What happens if I share my access code with others?
Montgomery-Yates: If you share your access code, you will be allowed to go in and schedule in SignUpGenius. However, you will not receive a vaccine. We are very aware of who has been invited. When you show up at the vaccine center [with someone else’s code], you're going to be turned away, because we're going to know that you were not invited.
You have to present identification when you come to the access center, either a driver's license or some sort of a utility bill or a school ID, or whatever it is that you have.
We're having to work behind the scenes and spend a lot of energy cleaning up the mess that's occurring because people are sharing the access code. So we ask you please don't. It's not going to wind up getting you a vaccine sooner. It's only going to create more difficulty for those really trying hard to provide vaccine to the most Kentuckians that we possibly can.
How does UK select people and how are invitations prioritized?
Almeter: Based on how you fill out that questionnaire on the form, we can match your demographics to the recommended phases that the state and CDC have put out. It's pretty straightforward. We designed the form to match the phases.
On a rolling basis, when we have opening slots, we're sending out more invites. And we prioritize by phase 1A, then 1B, 1C, and below. We’ve mainly been in 1A and 1B, but we'll be entering the 1C phase in the near future.
By continually looking at the process and prioritizing based on the state and CDC recommendations, we're able to keep the process rather efficient.
I have registered to receive my vaccine. How long should I expect to wait for my invitation?
Almeter: It varies. And it's going to vary based on your phase. I encourage every citizen in Kentucky who wants the vaccine to look at the phases recommended by the state. It can answer a lot of questions for you.
We are not withholding vaccines. As soon as we get that vaccine, we want to give it to the citizens of Kentucky who want it.
Montgomery-Yates: If you're a 70-year-old, we would suspect that we will get you in the next three to four weeks. If you're a healthy 40-year-old, it may be April or May before you get an invitation. That is just based upon the number of vaccines that we're getting.
If that number changes, if we have multiple centers, if the center expands, all of those pieces we can't necessarily predict right now. That's why we also think it's super important that wherever you have the availability of a vaccine, you should go get it.
Almeter: I just encourage our patients to be patient with the process and check their emails for invites when that time comes.
Watch our full interview with Dr. Yates and Almeter.