LEXINGTON, Ky. — As the availability of the multiple COVID-19 vaccines increases, several pharmacies, facilities and health care providers have begun offering shots to people without an appointment. 

What You Need To Know

  • The number of people seeking vaccines is increasing

  • Relaxed mask guidelines for vaccinated people contributing to uptick

  • Major and locally owned pharmacies offering walk-in options subject to availability

  • Walk-in option praised by working parents

The VA medical centers and their associated outpatient clinics in Lexington and Louisville have not required appointments for vaccines since late March for not only veterans but also their spouses, caregivers, partners and widows.

“We have had a great response,” said a spokesperson from the Lexington VA Medical Center. “It’s definitely been popular, but we couldn’t do it as much as we are without the Save Lives Act.”

The Save Lives Act, signed by Pres. Joe Biden on March 24, expands the VA’s legal authority to provide COVID-19 vaccines to all veterans, regardless of their VA health care enrollment status, as well as Veteran spouses, caregivers and some beneficiaries. 

The Wedco District Health Department serving Harrison, Nicholas, Scott and Bourbon counties began offering walk-in vaccines subject to availability in late April. Wedco director Dr. Crystal Miller said more than 200 people have scheduled appointments at the upcoming walk-in clinic in Scott County.

“We’ve seen an increase this week because of Gov. Andy Beshear’s announcement that if you’re fully vaccinated, you don’t have to wear a mask,” Miller said. “Then, with employers’ requirements for vaccines, we have a lot of people who were on the fence about it now wanting the vaccine. We haven’t seen this kind of turnout in more than three weeks.”

Wedco home health nurses are also administering in-home vaccines to patients on Mondays and Tuesdays. 

“For the in-home shots, we use the Johnson & Johnson because it’s just one shot,” Miller said. “We try to make it to where there are no excuses for people not to get the vaccine.”

Anna Peniston, of Georgetown, is the mother of four boys. With one son in middle school and another in elementary school, she said the walk-in option is “a great idea” since she and her husband both work full time. 

“With all the people in our household and our schedules, it was nearly impossible to get everyone to two different appointments,” she said. “Now, with the age of those who can get it being lowered and being able to just walk in, we can all go get it together once and not have to worry about making it to a second appointment, or one person being vaccinated and another person not.”

CVS pharmacies are offering a walk-in vaccine option subject to availability. The CVS location on New Circle Road in Lexington was requiring appointments on Wednesday, May 19, because of low supply. 

C & C Pharmacy in Lexington offers walk-in vaccines to people that fill out the required paperwork beforehand and bring it with them to the pharmacy. 

The Pharmacy Shop in Lexington is offering walk-in vaccines through a series of clinics that take place from noon-5 p.m. once or twice a week. Pharmacy manager Karen Sullivan said people may choose between the Johnson & Johnson or Moderna vaccine and the clinics have had a “pretty good turnout.”

“We are always trying to get people vaccinated even if they just walk in,” she said. “We want to make sure we put every bit of the vaccines we have into people’s arms.”