Ally Morrison, Correspondent
Mass-vaccination clinics in the state, including three located in Calhoun County, are likely to end this week, state health officer Scott Harris said last week, citing a lack of supplies.
The vaccine clinics in Oxford took place on Monday and Tuesday. Anniston’s clinic was on Wednesday, with Jacksonville’s set for today and Friday.
“Dr. Scott Harris from the Alabama Department of Public Health said that after this week ‘mass vaccination clinics would not continue’ and this leaves us to wonder how future supplies will be distributed,” said Jeff Ryan, JSU’s chief of program operations and COVID-19 task force head.
“Personally, I believe that the vast majority of vaccine[s] will go to pharmacies and private clinics across the state,” Ryan added.
Harris’s announcement comes as JSU begins to establish its own vaccine storage and distribution plan, which Ryan said includes Kennamer Hall as a distribution location.
“We plan to use the old weight training facility in Kennamer Hall,” said Ryan. “We have pre-ordered a sufficient quantity of supplies to launch the program so that if and when the vaccine arrives we will be ready to implement our plan in a few days.”
If the university receives 10,100 doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine it requested, Ryan said that the vaccines would be stored in a freezer at the RMC Student Health Center, as it has “adequate space and temperature rating for the Moderna vaccine.”
Ryan further explained that the university’s vaccination plan will follow the Alabama Department of Public Health’s vaccination and prioritization scheme.
“We have been working with our community partners on previous mass vaccination clinics in the county and will continue to play a part in the one that is ongoing this week in all five locations,” said Ryan.
As the state of Alabama trails the most of the country in vaccine distribution, Ryan explained that he is not aware if that will affect the distribution at JSU.
The Student Government Association created a sign-up sheet for volunteer opportunities at the three mass-vaccination sites. The remaining volunteer opportunities at mass-vaccination clinics in Calhoun County are in Jacksonville for today and Friday.
Volunteers will help with welcoming guests and data entry tasks. In addition to serving the community, volunteering to serve can be listed as completed volunteer hours for on-campus organizations.
Many students, employees, retirees and family members have signed up for the volunteer opportunities, Ryan noted, where they serve “in non-medical roles for a variety of functions such as greeters, ID checkers, data entry assistants, and runners.” He said that the university would reach out to the campus community for a similar volunteer workforce if it receives its allocation of the vaccine.
“It’s really wonderful to see the community pull together like it has for this pandemic response,” said Ryan. “So many agencies and volunteer groups have risen to the occasion. We can’t thank them enough for what they have done and continue to do.”