Two things have happened recently to put more COVID-19 vaccinations in the Alabama pipeline: a third mass vaccination site opened at Parker High School and the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program began releasing 1 million vaccination doses to drug stores nationwide.
Walmart, Walgreen’s, CVS and Publix are scheduled to receive doses, but not all the stores have received the vaccine. First check with the stores or their web sites to see if they are vaccinating.
The federal program began dispensing doses to 6,500 drug stores nationwide and eventually will increase that to 40,000 stores, according to its website.
Unless otherwise noted, vaccinations are restricted to people the state has declared eligible, which include anyone 65 years old or older; health care workers; anyone living in a group setting such as nursing homes or homeless shelter; first responders such as police and firefighters; corrections officers, food and agriculture workers; U.S. Postal Service workers; manufacturing workers; grocery store workers; public transit workers; people who work in the education sector; child care workers; and people who work in the judicial system.
Initially, Walmart had not planned to offer the vaccine at stores in the Birmingham area. Getting vaccines to rural areas was one of the goals for giving the vaccine to Walmarts.
But an agreement Monday between Walmart and Birmingham city officials who reiterated the high COVID infection rates in Jefferson County resulted in Walmart and Sam’s Club adding 16 Birmingham stores for virus vaccinations, possibly as early as this Friday.
“Walmart is a name brand that’s recognized in almost every American household,” said Birmingham City Councilor Hunter Williams. “They are doing everything that they can to maximize their ability to get vaccines to underserved areas that might otherwise have slipped through the cracks.”
“I cannot stress how thankful I am that Walmart was willing to come to the table and immediately recognize the importance of making sure there are locations in the Birmingham metro area helping serve our residents.”
Residents wanting the vaccine can sign up at Walmart.com/covidvaccine.
Also in the Birmingham area, Ritch’s Pharmacy in Mountain Brook was one of three in the state that began giving the vaccines last month. Rock Creek Pharmacy in Bessemer is dispensing the vaccine, and Green Valley Drugs in Hoover is waiting to get more doses. All require appointments. American Family Care at Greystone is offering the vaccinations with an appointment, as is Main Street Family Care in Pelham.
The Jefferson County Health Department offers the vaccine by appointment at two sites: Gardendale High School and the health department headquarters at 1400 6th Ave. South. Self-registration is available at jeffcoema.org.
The county health department had planned a clinic to give second doses of the Moderna vaccine Monday at Gardendale Baptist Church, but those appointments are being rescheduled because of concerns about the weather.
Currently, the Alabama Department of Public Health is not accepting registrations for vaccinations, saying all appointments are taken, according to its web site at alcovidvaccine.gov.
The Parker High School mass evacuation site joins those at UAB Highlands and the Hoover Met as part of a collaborative effort by UAB, the city of Birmingham, Birmingham City Schools and Jefferson County.
But the Parker and the Met site will be closed Tuesday because of weather conditions.
Parker’s initial hours of operation will be 9 a.m. to noon, Mondays through Fridays.
All appointments for the mass vaccination sites run by UAB in coordination with others can be requested online at uabmedicinevaccine.org. The patient then will be contacted by UAB’s scheduling software program, called Phreesia, to confirm appointment locations and times.
Parker school employees received vaccinations Wednesday as a test run in preparation for the site’s public opening.
“I am thankful for UAB and the partnership which has created this vaccination site in a Birmingham neighborhood,” said Birmingham Mayor Randall L. Woodfin. “We are committed to working together in reaching out to our residents to ensure everyone is aware of the opportunities available.
“I urge those who meet the current Alabama Department of Public Health guidelines to register today. If you have a loved one or friend who is unable to register, please help them,” Woodfin added.
UAB plans to expand hours as additional vaccine supply is received from the ADPH.
“We have been working as quickly as we can with our community partners in Birmingham and Hoover to stand these three community sites up, and we are eager to get these vaccines going tomorrow at Parker.” said Dr. Sarah Nafziger, vice president of Clinical Support Services at UAB.
Hours at the three locations will be extended when the supply of the vaccine improves.
If all else fails, call your family doctor. More than 900 health care providers have been approved to receive the vaccine; it’s just a matter of who has it in stock.
People with vaccination appointments should take photo identification and proof of eligibility, and you must wear a mask.
The demand for the vaccine continues to greatly exceed supply in the state, according to ADPH.
As of Friday, the department’s dashboard reported 9,180 deaths from COVID in the state even as the number of new cases per day continues its four-week decline.
Last week, 42,798 doses of Moderna and 58,260 doses of Pfizer vaccine were given.
The number of doses delivered to the state as of Friday is 993,715, according to ADPH, with 553,003 of those vaccines having been given.
According to state health department demographics released Friday, 249,462 of the people who have received vaccines are white and 50,594 are black.
As of Feb. 16, these are the Birmingham-area Walmarts that plan to begin offering the vaccine:
- 9248 Parkway East, Birmingham
- 2780 John Hawkins Parkway, Hoover
- 209 Lakeshore Parkway, Homewood
- 1600 Montclair Road, Birmingham
- 3320 Lorna Road, Hoover
- 312 Palisades Boulevard, Birmingham
- 1300 Montgomery Highway, Vestavia
- 3053 John Hawkins Parkway, Hoover
- 201 Lakeshore Parkway, Homewood
- 750 Academy Drive, Bessemer
- 890 Odum Road, Gardendale
- 5919 Trussville Crossings Parkway, Birmingham
- 1007 Red Farmer Druve, Hueytown
- 2473 Hackworth Road, Birmingham
- 1916 Center Point Parkway, Birmingham.