MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – Public health officials continue to sponsor vaccination events, but people are starting to have more options when it comes to getting protection against the deadly novel coronavirus.
The Alabama Department of Public Health on Monday debuted a map on its vaccine dashboard showing all of the places other than hospitals where the vaccine is available. The sites include six locations in Mobile County and another three in Baldwin County. Here is the list:
- Semmes Pharmacy, at 4154 Wulff Road East.
- FOPHC Women’s Health, at 251 Bayou St.
- Mainstreet Family Care, at 6280 Grelot Road.
- Three Notch Pharmacy, at 4880 Lakeland Drive, Suite F.
- New Grand Bay Pharmacy, at 12475 U.S. Highway 90.
- Bayou Pharmacy, 12855 Padgett Switch Road.
- Baldwin County Health Department, at 23280 Gilbert Drive.
- Fairhope Pediatrics, at 19087B Greeno Road.
- North Baldwin Family Health Center, at 201 D’Olive St.
The vaccine still is not for everyone, though. Health care workers, first responders and residents 75 and older continue to get priority.
Public health officials also are continuing their outreach efforts in an attempt to take the vaccine to the people. One of those events occurred Monday at an event hosted by Stone Street Baptist Church in Mobile as part of Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations.
“We are the oldest Baptist church in the state, and we take that position of leadership very seriously, by offering our grounds as a place to have this event today,” said the Rev. Milton Saffold, pastor of the historic congregation.
Saffold had a simple answer when asked why he stepped forward: “People are dying.”
Getting widespread distribution almost certainly will have to include a dramatic expansion in where people can get it.
Consider the vaccination event that the Health Department had over the weekend. It was a monumental organizational challenge, involving lots of coordination and two days of trial runs. The department ended up giving the vaccine to 949 people over 12 hours. At that rate of inoculation every single day, though, it would take almost a year before every adult in Mobile County got their first dose.
Making sure African-Americans are fairly represented in early vaccination outreach has been a top goal of the state and county health departments.
“There are people of color and people of all ethnicities who are walking around with existing conditions,” Saffold said. “Heart conditions, kidney conditions, cancer or diabetes, just to name a few. And those are things that make us more vulnerable to this disease.”
Frank Brown was one of those in line on Monday.
“I wanted to go ahead and get it before it was too late for me to get it, ’cause I’m 70-something-years-old, and I wanted to go ahead and get it mine today while I had a chance to come to my church and get it,” he said.
Brown said COVID-19 safety protocols have separated him from his grandchildren.
“Well, it been kind of hard,” he said. “You can’t hug ’em and stuff like that.”
Walter Battles, another person who got the COVID-19 shot, repeated the advice health officials have given.
“We have to do what we have to do, and that means that we have to wear the mask even after we get the shots,” he said. “We still have to wear them masks.”
Safford noted that more than 2 million people worldwide have died from the virus. Of those, 400,000 have come from America.
“That’s roughly 20 percent of what that amount is,” he said. “Every day in Mobile County, COVID infections are rising. COVID hospitalizations are rising. COVID deaths are rising.”
There are some tepid signs of hope. The number of COVID-19 patients hospitalized right now in Alabama is down about 9 percent from a week ago. And hospitalizations have declined three straight days in Mobile.