As the vaccination effort ramps up across the country, state and locally in Lee County, East Alabama Medical Center stressed the importance of following its guidelines for the Community Vaccine Clinic on Opelika Road.
EAMC asked people scheduled to receive a vaccine at the clinic to wait in their vehicles until 10 minutes before their appointment time.
"With us now vaccinating about 1,000 people a day, we have 33 people scheduled every 15 minutes," said John Atkinson, EAMC spokesman. "It’s like a well-oiled machine; it runs on things being consistent. When people arrive too early, the registration area gets backed up and it has a trickle effect on the rest of the clinic.
"From start to finish, a person’s vaccination experience at our clinic should be about 25 minutes total — five minutes registering, five minutes at a vaccination table and then 15 minutes of monitoring. This is one healthcare setting where there is no waiting room."
EAMC, which has administered nearly 17,000 doses of vaccine since Dec. 15, said the following groups are currently eligible to register for an appointment at the community clinic:
• Ages 65 and greater
• Corrections officers
• Food and agriculture workers, not including food service workers
• U.S. Postal Service workers
• Manufacturing workers
• Grocery store workers
• Public transit workers
• Education sector (teachers, support staff, higher education)
• Childcare workers
• Judiciary (including but not limited to) circuit judges, district judges and district attorneys
• First responders
• Healthcare workers
The clinic, located next to Big Lots in Market Square Shopping Center, is accepting scheduling vaccination appointments on a five-day "rolling" registration window, with new time slots available every morning at 8 a.m. Eligible residents can register at https://eastalcovidvaccine.com/login.
Residents may also register through the Alabama Department of Public Health at www.alcovidvaccine.gov. ADPH is holding vaccine clinics at the Lee County Health Department at 1801 Corporate Drive in Opelika from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Vaccinations are by appointment only.
According to the ADPH website, other Auburn/Opelika entities are administering the vaccine to the general public, including American Family Care at its Auburn and Opelika locations, Auburn Urgent Care, Thomas Pharmacy in Opelika and Oak Park Pharmacy.
At Thomas Pharmacy, Roger Burnett, pharmacist and owner, says that they are actively utilizing their shipment of the vaccine.
“We have already administered one shipment of 200 doses to the 75 and above group,” Burnett said. “That group is now being called back in to receive their second dose. We are also in the process of administering a second shipment of 200 doses to a new group of first-timers.”
Ensuring that those vaccinated can receive their second dose by setting up specific appointment times is essential according to Burnett.
“By setting specific appointments, we can keep track of who is in need of a second dose and ensure there is no waste,” he said. “Once we finish administering the doses to this last group, we can begin to move into the 65 and above group that is currently on our waiting list.”
At Oak Park Pharmacy, an entity within Oak Park Nursing Home, a long term care facility provided by EAMC, pharmacist Leslie Wisner stated that, while they are a part of EAMC, they are not in the vaccination rollout that is happening at the new clinic.
“Tons of people in the community have been calling us because we are listed on the ADPH’s website,” Wisner said. “However, we are only currently vaccinating residents within our facility.”
American Family Care Urgent Care is currently administering the Moderna vaccine under the CDC’s Phase 1 guidelines. According to their website, while there are some variations based on state guidelines, eligible citizens, who are 18 years of age or older, a U.S. citizen, have not had Covid-19 in the last 90 days, must meet one of the following criteria to receive a vaccination at this time:
• Those who work in a healthcare setting
• Those work in a setting that does not involve direct patient care, but could still expose you to infectious agents that can be transmitted in the healthcare setting such as clerical, administrative, billing and maintenance staff in healthcare facilities and healthcare volunteers
• First responders, including law enforcement and firefighters
• Those who work or live in a congregate setting, including homeless shelters and group homes
• Those who are 75 years or older
• The Auburn University Medical Clinic is also administering the vaccine. However, it is not available to the general public at this time.
For more information and updates in regards to the Covid-19 vaccine, Auburn residents can visit the ADPH’s website at www.alcovidvaccine.gov.