MILITARY MATTERS: Alabama National Guard helping with COVID-19 vaccinations in rural areas

MILITARY MATTERS: Alabama National Guard helping with COVID-19 vaccinations in rural areas

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WTVM) - National Guardsmen and women are pitching in so that thousands of eligible Alabamians in rural communities will have a convenient opportunity to get their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

“This is what we do and this is what we train to do in the military. We train to plan and execute missions. This is just another mission we are planning and executing,” Alabama National Guard Mission Officer in Charge Lt. Col. James Jones said.

Beginning last week, the Alabama National Guard is setting up mobile vaccination clinics across 24 rural counties, a large-scale mission meant to help those struggling to get access.

“To be able to go in these communities and help provide these vaccinations, especially in these communities that does not have as many opportunities to get the shot, it’s a great feeling for us to know that we’re helping our friends and our neighbors,” Lt. Col. Jones said.

Lieutenant Col. James Jones says two teams composed of 85 guardsmen will be deployed to four different counties every week. The three-week mission began in Covington and Sumter Counties yesterday. Jones says the sites will either be a drive thru or walk-up clinic.

He added, “Like a high school gym or any other building that’s large enough for us to manage the crowds that we’re gonna be working with.”

They plan on administering 1,000 doses at each clinic every day for a total of 8,000 shots a week.

“We are citizen soldiers being in the guard, so this gives us a great since of accomplishment to be able to turn around and give to our local communities,” Lt. Col. Jones said.

Right now, at these mobile vaccine clinics manned by the Alabama National Guard, appointments are not required, so shots will be given out on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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