Alabama’s first large-scale COVID-19 vaccination sites opened Monday and Tuesday in Mobile, Auburn and Hoover, a week before more than a million seniors and essential workers in the state become eligible for shots.
Staff and volunteers In Mobile, Lee County and at the Hoover Met will eventually be able to administer more than 1,000 vaccines a day, depending on supply, said Bob Shepard, spokesman for the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Shepard said he expected more than 800 vaccines to be administered on Tuesday as the Hoover Met clinic ramps up to full capacity. Some cities and counties have held day-long vaccine clinics, but these are the first efforts to deliver more than a thousand vaccines every day, Monday through Friday.
Vaccines are available by appointment only, and people can register through online portals operated by the Alabama Department of Public Health, East Alabama Medical Center and the Jefferson County Vaccine Call Center. The vaccination site in Hoover is a partnership between UAB and the City of Hoover. Another site will open soon at A.H. Parker High School in Birmingham.
By 11 a.m. on Tuesday, a line of cars snaked through lanes marked with traffic cones in Hoover. Patients pass through checkpoints to verify appointments, then receive the shot and park in a holding area for 15 minutes for observation.
“We haven’t had any allergic reactions at any of our vaccine clinics,” Shepard said. “It was going very smoothly.”
On Feb. 8, people age 65 and older and many essential workers will become eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. UAB and the City of Birmingham are still working out the details of the vaccination site at A.H. Parker High School.
State health officials expect demand to exceed supply during for the near future, which could make it difficult to schedule appointments. So far, most vaccines have been available in limited quantities through local health departments and hospitals.