The effort to get COVID vaccines into the arms of more and more rural Alabamians is getting some help from the state’s National Guard.
Gov. Kay Ivey activated guardsmen Tuesday, with a mission to spread into areas that have few or no vaccine sites. A statement issued by Ivey’s office said the National Guard will be deployed in two teams of 55 members each, setting up mobile vaccination sites in at least 24 counties. The mission begins on March 23, with the teams rotating through the counties.
The teams will have the capacity to vaccinate at least 1,000 people per site per day, Monday through Thursday, for a total of 8,000 shots per week. They will be assisted by the Alabama Department of Public Health, county health departments and local law enforcement.
The sites and schedules have yet to be determined.
“As we continue ramping up our vaccine distribution efforts, the guardsmen will play a critical role in reaching folks in rural areas of Alabama,” Ivey said in the media statement. “We want to use every tool in our toolkit so that we can get COVID-19 behind us once and for all. The Guard and Public Health will be working closely with county emergency management officials to determine the sites, and we will be sharing that information once it is finalized.
“Please take advantage of this resource if you are able, but I continue urging patience as we continue working to get our hands on more supplies from the federal government. Folks, we can have hope, because, finally, we can see the end of COVID-19.”
As of Tuesday, Alabama has received 1,616,665 doses of the Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, and Moderna COVID vaccines, according to the ADPH Vaccination Hub online. So far, 703,288 people have received at least one dose, and 410,337 have been given all the doses required by their vaccine brand. Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses while the new Johnson and Johnson vaccine requires only one, which 3,851 people in Alabama have received to date.