PHENIX CITY, Ala. (WTVM) -The effort to get more people vaccinated in East Alabama is moving along after Governor Kay Ivey activated the National Guard to help get people vaccinated who live in hard to reach communities.
Friday’s mass vaccination site at Chattahoochee Valley Community College (CVCC) was just the latest stop on the Alabama National Guard’s and Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) vaccination clinics tour.
Officials say their goal is to get doses to people in rural and hard to reach areas. The state is almost three weeks in since the start of the two team mission, consisting of doctors, registered nurses, and medics, for the Alabama National Guard’s vaccine tour across the state.
“Bravo team is in the southeast, and alpha team is in the southwest, and we’re composed of approximately 80 personnel,” said Lt. Col. Torrey Hobdy. “We started out in the four lower counties, and this week we’re covering four more counties, and next week we’ll be covering four more counties.”
Covington, Lowndes, Sumter, Macon, and Bullock counties are just a few stops that have hosted mass vaccination sites across the state. Russell County is the latest stop for the National Guard and Alabama Department of Health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Alabama ranks last when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines administered. Tim Hatch, assistant administrator for ADPH hopes with the help of the National Guard, that ranking will soon improve.
“So now, with the help of the National Guard, we can get this vaccine out into the communities,” said Hatch. “So again, with more vaccine available, including Johnson & Johnson, we now have the ability to get more shots into arms. Going specifically to the health department was not as efficient, because the fact that we’re not set up for that, but calling in the guard and getting to do these mobile clinics not only in some of the largest cities, but going to the rural areas as well, has been very very helpful. The uptake has been about what we expected, and we’re hoping that more and more people as they get the vaccine will tell their friends and relatives to come in and get this life-saving service.”
Clinic officials say they will be back at CVCC April 23 to give people their booster doses . The Alabama National Guard and vaccine site officials reiterate the vaccine is safe and encourage Alabamians to get their dose.
CVCC President Jackie Screws said, “To those individuals who have not been vaccinated, who have not gotten the shot, we need to do that. This is hugely important to us getting a handle on COVID-19. Anyone who has not been vaccinated should really try and get that shot in their arms.”
If someone missed their opportunity to be vaccinated at this site, they can click here for the next clinic date and location.