Alabama National Guard prepares for rural vaccination clinics

Alabama National Guard prepares for rural vaccination clinics

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - With the help of the Alabama National Guard and other state agencies, thousands of eligible Alabamians in rural communities will have the opportunity to get their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

“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,” said Lt. Col. James Jones with the Alabama National Guard. “This is a mission that we enjoy doing because we’re helping out our fellow citizens.”

The three week long mission is meant to help those with limited access to the shots get vaccinated.

“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,” Jones said.

Two teams composed of 85 personnel will be deployed to four different counties every week, Jones said. The teams will rotate through each county.

“Each team is made up of a combination of providers, nurses, medics, and support staff that they need to operate,” Jones said. “This is also made up of both Army National Guard members and Air National Guard members.”

The Alabama Department of Public Health, the Alabama Department of Transportation, local emergency management officials and law enforcement will also provide support.

Jones said the mobile vaccination sites will either be a drive-thru or walk-up clinic.

“We can either be setting up a drive-thru vaccination site, or we could be setting up in a fixed facility 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,” Jones said.

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 sense of accomplishment to be able to turn around and give to our local communities,” Jones said.

All rural mobile vaccination clinics will operate Monday-Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and are open to all eligible Alabamians, free of charge.

At this time, appointments are not required, so shots will be given out on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Jones said in three weeks, the national guard will hold these clinics again to administer second doses of the vaccine.

According to a recent study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Alabama ranks ninth in the country in vaccinating the most vulnerable citizens.

Click here to find a full list of locations to the Alabama National Guard’s mobile vaccine clinics.

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